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Full text of "Opening ceremonies of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, May 24, 1883"

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OPENING CEREMONIES 



DF THE 



NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN BRIDG 



-I 
J 



MAY 24, 1883. 



BROOKLYN, N. Y. 
1883. 



BRIGHAM YOUNG UbUVERSlTX 

LIBRARY 

PROVO, UTAH 



PRESS OF 
THE BROOKLYN EAGLE JOE PRINTING DEPARTMENT, 



TRUSTEES ANE OFFICERS 



New York and Brooklyn Bridge. 



TRUSTEES 



NEW YORK. 

JOHN T. AGNEW, 
JOHN G. DAVIS, 
J. ADRIANCE BUSH, 
HENRY CLAUSEN, 
THOMAS C. CLARKE, 
CHARLES MACDONALD, 
H. K. THURBER, 
JENKINS VAN SCHAICK, 
FRANKLIN EDSON, Mayor, 

Ex-officio 
ALLAN CAMPBELL, Comp., 

Ex-aJJicio 



BROOKLYN. 

WILLIAM C. KINGSLEY, 
WILLIAM MARSHALL, 
HENRY W. SLOCUM, 
JAMES S. T. STRANAHAN, 
ALFRED C. BARNES, 
ALDEN S. SWAN, 
OTTO WITTE, 
JAMES PiOWELL, 
SETH LOW, Mayor, 

Ex-ojficio. 
AARON BRINKERHOFF, Comp., 

Ex-ojfficio. 



JOHN T. AGNEW, Chairman Executive ComiTiittee. 



DFFICERS, 

WILLIAM C. KINGSLEY, President. 

J. ADRIANCE BUSH, Vice-Pres. OTTO WITTE, Treasurer. 

ORESTES P. QUINTARD, Secretary. 



CHIEF ENGINEER, 

WASHINGTON A. ROEBLING. 



ASSISTilNT EN&INEEF.S. 

CHARLES C. MARTIN, WILLIAM H. PAINE, 

FRANCIS COLLINGWOOD, GEORGE W. McNULTY, 

SAMUEL R. PROBASCO, V/ILHELM HILDENBRAND. 



PROGRAMME OF EXERCISES. 



1. MUSIC- .... 

28d REGIMENT BAND. 

2. PRAYER— .... 

Rt. Rev. BISHOP LITTLEJOHN. 

3. PRESENTATIDN AEERESS- 

On behalf of Trustees, 
WILLIAM C. KINGSLEY, Vice-President. 

4. ilCCEFTANCE AEERESS— 

On behalf of the City of Brooklyn, 
Hon. SETH LOW, Mayor. 

5. ACCEPTANCE AEERESS— 

On behalf of the City of New York, 
Hon. FRANKLIN EDSON, Mayor. 

CORNET SDLC- 

Mr. J. LEVY. 

B. DRATIDN— - - . . 

Hon. ABRAM S. HEWITT. 

7. DRATICN— - - - - 

Rev. RICHARD S. STORRS, D. D. 

a. MUSIC— 

7th REGIMENT BAND. 



Hon, JAMES S, T, STRANAHAN will prEsidB. 



INTRODUCTORY. 



The New York and Brooklyn Bridge was for- 
mally opened on Thursday, May 24th, 1883, 
Avith befitting pomp and ceremonial, in the pres- 
ence of the largest multitude that ever gathered 
in the two cities. From the announcement by the 
Trustees of the date which was to mark the 
turning-over of the work to the public, it was 
evident that the popular demonstration would 
be upon a scale commensurate with the magnifi- 
cence of the structure and its importance to the 
people of the United States. The evidences of 
widespread and profound interest in the event 
Avere early and unmistakable. They were not 
confined to the metropolis and its sister city on 
the Long Island shore, nor yet to the majestic 
Empire State. The occurrence was recognized 
as one of National importance ; and throughout 



8 

the Union, from the rocky headlands of Maine 
to the golden shores of the Pacific, and from the 
gleaming waters of the St. Lawrence to the vast 
expanse of the Mexican Gulf, the opening cere- 
monies were regarded with intelligent concern and 
approval. Nearly every State contributed its rep- 
resentatives to the swelling throng that attended, 
while those who were unable to be present con- 
templated with pride and satisfaction the com- 
pletion and consecration to its purpose of the 
greatest engineering work of modern times. 

In the communities most directly benefited by 
the Bridge the demonstration was confined to no 
class or body of the populace. It was a holiday 
for high and low, rich and poor ; it was, in fact, 
the People's Day. More delightful weather never 
dawned upon a festal morning. The heavens 
were radiant with the celestial blue of approach- 
ing summer ; silvery fragments of cloud sailed 
gracefully across the firmament like winged mes- 
sengers, bearing greetings of work well done ; 
the clearest of spring sunshine tinged everything 
with a touch of gold, and a brisk, bracing breeze 
blown up from the Atlantic cooled the atmosphere 



to a healthful and invigorating temperature. The 
incoming dawn revealed the twin cities gorgeous 
in gala attire. From towering steeple and lofty 
fagade, from the fronts of business houses and 
the cornices and walls of private dwellings, from 
the forests of shipping along the wharves and 
the vessels in the dimpled bay, floated bunting 
fashioned in every conceivable design, while high 
above all, from the massive and enduring gran- 
ite towers of the Bridge the Stars and Stripes 
signaled to the world from the gateway of the 
continent the arrival of the auspicious clay. 

Almost before the sun was up the thoroughfares 
of both cities put on a festival appearance. Busi- 
ness was generally suspended. The mercantile 
and professional communities vied with one an- 
other in the extent and splendor of their decora- 
tions, while from the hearty voice of Labor arose 
a chorus of ringing acclamation. Tens of thou- 
sands of men, women and children crowded into 
the streets, and, after gazing admiringly upon the 
decorations, wended their way in the direction of 
the mighty river span. From neighboring cities 
and from the adjacent country for many miles 



lO 

around the incomino- trains brouo^ht multitudes 
of excursionists and sight-seers. It seemed mar- 
velous that they could all find accommodation, 
but the generous hospitality of the cities was 
cordially extended, and all were adequately pro- 
vided for. The scenes presented during the day 
upon the streets and avenues of New York 
and Brooklyn will never be forgotten by those 
who witnessed them. Notwithstanding the enor- 
mous massing of people, the best of order was 
everywhere observable, and the day happily was 
free from any accident of a serious nature. 
The arrangements for the celebration were of 
a sensible and becoming character, and beside 
insuring an unobstructed and speedy course for 
the ceremonies, contributed beyond measure to 
the popular enjoyment. 

Early in the afternoon the President of the 
United States, Gen. Chester A. Arthur, and the 
Hon. Grover Cleveland, Governor of the State 
of New York, the former accompanied by the 
members of his Cabinet and the latter by the 
officers of his Staff, were escorted from the 
Fifth Avenue Hotel to the New York Citv 



1 1 

Hall, where they were joined by his Honor 
Mayor Franklin Edson and the New York 
officials. From the City Hall the procession 
proceeded to the New York Approach to the 
Bridge. The Seventh Regiment, N. G., S. N. Y., 
Col. Emmons Clark, commanding, acted as escort 
to the Presidential and Gubernatorial party. 
The regimental band, of 75 pieces, headed the 
column and played popular airs as the proces- 
sion moved along the crowded and gaily deco- 
rated thoroughfares. At the New York Tower a 
battalion of the Fifth United States Artillery, 
under command of Major Jackson, joined the 
escort, and between the lines of brilliantly uni- 
formed troops the distinguished guests passed 
upon the roadway. They were formally received 
by a Committee of the Bridge Trustees, headed 
by Mr. William C. Kingsley, Vice-President and 
acting President of the Board. 

The arrival at the New York Tower was pro- 
claimed to the multitudes on shore by the thun- 
dering of many cannon. Salutes were fired from 
the forts In the harbor, from the United States 
Navy Yard, and from the summit of Fort 



12 



Greene. The United States fleet, consisting of 
the ''Tennessee," the ''Yantic," the '' Kearsarge," 
the '' Vandalia," and the '' Minnesota," Rear- 
Admiral George H. Cooper, commanding, was 
anchored in the river below the Bridge and joined 
in the salute. As the procession moved across 
the roadway the yards of the men-of-war were 
manned, and from the docks and factories arose 
a tremendous babel of sounds, caused by the 
clanging of bells, the roaring of steam whis- 
tles, and the cheers of enthusiastic people, while 
sounding from afar, in delightful contrast with 
the clamorous discord, the silver chimes of 
Trinity rang out upon the river. 

In the ornate iron railway depot at the Brook- 
lyn terminus, where the exercises were to take 
place, the arrival of the approaching procession 
was anxiously awaited. The interior was bright 
with tasteful decorations, the prevailing feature 
being the sky-blue hangings of satin bordered 
with silver, and the coats-of-arms of the States 
appropriately interspersed amid a forest of flags. 
On the Brooklyn side the duties of escort were 
transferred to the 23d Regiment, N. G., S. N. Y., 



Colonel Rodney C. Ward commanding. The 
regiment appeared upon this occasion for the 
first time in their new State service uniform, 
and performed their duties most efficiently. The 
arrangements for the procession and exercises 
were under the direction of Major-General James 
Jourdan, commanding the Second Division, N. 
G., S. N. Y., who was ably assisted by the mem- 
bers of the Division Staff. The buildings was 
thronged In every part. In the throng were 
many of the most conspicuous citizens of New 
York and other States, including representatives 
of the bench, the bar, the pulpit, the press, 
and all other professions. Beside the President 
and his Cabinet, consisting of the Hon. Charles 
J. Folger, Secretary of the Treasury ; the Hon. 
William E. Chandler, Secretary of the Navy ; 
the Hon. Henry M. Teller, Secretary of the 
Interior; the Hon. Walter O. Gresham, Post- 
master-General, and the Hon. Benjamin Harris 
Brewster, Attorney-General ; and Governor 
Cleveland and Staff, there were present the 
Governors of several States and the Mayors 
of nearly all the cities in the vicinity of the 



H 

metropolis. In the vast assemblage none were 
more conspicuous than the officers of the Army 
and Navy, who occupied an entire section and 
attracted general attention. 

When the Presidential party and their escort 
entered the hall they were greeted with enthusi- 
astic cheers. They occupied seats directly op- 
posite the stand erected for the orators of the 
day. The exercises proceeded without delay in 
an orderly manner, and were appropriate and im- 
pressive throughout. Music was furnished during 
the ceremonies by the bands of the Seventh and 
Twenty-third regiments. The Hon. James S. T. 
Stranahan presided with the skill and dignity 
gained during his long experience in public life. 
Near him were the speakers, Mr. William C. 
KIngsley, Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., the Hon. 
Abram S. Hewitt, Mayor Franklin Edson, of New 
York, and Mayor Seth Low, of Brooklyn, together 
with the members of the Board of Bridge Trus- 
tees. Mr. Stranahan opened the ceremonies by 
Introducing Bishop LIttlejohn, who wore the 
Episcopal robes. The Bishop fervently and im- 
pressively made the opening prayer, the great 



15 

assemblage bowing their heads reverentially dur- 
ing its delivery. Vice-President Kingsley was 
next introduced, and w^as received with hearty 
applause. Mr. Kingsley, in clear and distinct 
tones, and in comprehensive and business-like 
terms, proceeded to make the formal speech pre- 
senting the Bridge to the cities of New York 
and Brooklyn. The address was heard with care- 
ful attention, and upon its conclusion a round of 
enthusiastic applause swept through the building. 
His Honor Mayor Low followed Mr. Kingsley 
with a concise and appropriate speech, receiving 
the structure on behalf of the City of Brooklyn. 
His address elicited several demonstrations of 
approval from the audience. The Hon. Frank- 
lin Edson, Mayor of New York, who was the 
next speaker, was heartily applauded as he aptly 
accepted the Bridge in behalf of the author- 
ities of the great metropolis. When Mr. Hewitt 
was introduced as the orator on the part of 
New York City, he was warmly cheered. His 
eloquent address riveted the attention of his 
hearers from beginning to end, and his pointed 
and conclusive vindication of the bridge manas^e- 



i6 

ment from the outset aroused the enthusiasm of 
his hearers to the utmost pitch. Following Mr. 
Hewitt came the Rev. Richard S. Storrs, D. D., 
who delivered the oration on behalf of Brooklyn. 
Never did the distinguished preacher appear 
to better advantage, and his oration, which 
was punctuated w^ith applause, was characterized 
as a masterpiece by all who heard it. Upon 
the conclusion of his address the presiding offi- 
cer declared the exercises at an end, and the 
company in the building dispersed. 

The festivities, however, did not end with 
the conclusion of the formal ceremonies. The 
celebration was continued in both cities through- 
out the day and far into the night. Thous- 
ands upon thousands of enthusiastic people 
crowded the streets. After the ceremonies, the 
President, the Governor, the speakers of the 
day, and the Trustees were driven to the resi- 
dence of Col. Washington A. Roebling, on 
Columbia Heights, where a reception was held. 
As they passed through the streets the people 
cheered as people only can who cheer in the 
atmosphere of a free government. From Col. 



17 

Roebling's house the company proceeded to the 
residence of Mayor Low, where they were enter- 
tained at a banquet. In the evening, under 
the auspices of the Municipal authorities, a 
_grand reception to President Arthur and Gov- 
ernor Cleveland was given by the citizens of 
Brooklyn at the Academy of Music, and was 
attended by a great multitude. Another strik- 
ing feature of the celebration at night was the 
display of fireworks on the Bridge given under 
the direction of the Board of Trustees. The 
pyrotechnic exhibition was viewed by almost 
the entire populace of the two cities, and a vast 
concourse of visitors from abroad. The East 
River was fairly blocked with craft of every 
description bearing legions of delighted specta- 
tors, and the streets and housetops were packed 
with people. The display was generally charac- 
terized as one of the grandest ever witnessed in 
America. The people of both cities evinced their 
public spirit in the decorations by day and the 
illuminations by night. The illuminations in 
Brooklyn, particularly, were on a magnificent 
scale, and excited the admiration of multitudes 



i8 

of visitors to the city. In addition to the special 
features of the celebration there were many 
entertainments In honor of the event, Including 
concerts In the various city parks. Through- 
out the afternoon and evening the best of order 
was preserved ; the casualties that occurred 
were few and unimportant, and the auspicious 
day ended without the Intrusion of anything 
that would carry with it other than pleasant 
memories of the significant event which It com- 
memorated. 



Order of Religious Services, 



Conducted by Rt. Rev. A. N. Littlejohn, D. D. 



The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath 
are the everlasting arms. Deut. xxxiii. : 27. 

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is 
God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and 
mercy with them that love Him and keep His com- 
mandments to a thousand generations. Deut. vii. : 9. 

Remember the marvelous works that He hath 
done : His wonders, and the judgments of his 
mouth. Psalm cv. : 5. 

Marvelous things did He in the sight of our 
forefathers, in the land of Egypt, even in the field 
of Zoan. 

He divided the sea, and let them go through : 
He made the waters to stand on an heap. 

In the day time also He led them with a cloud, 
and all the night through with a light of fire. 
Psalm Ixxviii. : 13, 14, 15. 



20 

Oh, that men would therefore praise the Lord for 
His goodness and declare the wonders that He doeth 
for the children of men. Psalm cvii. : 21. 

The Lord hath been mindful of us, and He shall 
bless us ; He shall bless them that fear the Lord, 
both small and great. Psalm cxv. : 12, 13. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to 
the Holy Ghost : 

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall 
be, world without end. 

Praise ye the Lord : 

The Lord's name be praised. 



PRAYER. 



Almighty God, who hast in all ages showed 
forth Thy power and mercy in the preservation 
and advancement of the race redeemed by 
the precious blood of Thy dear Son : we yield 
Thee our unfeigned thanks and praise as for all 
Thy public mercies, so especially for the signal 
manifestation of Thy Providence which we com- 
memorate this day. All things — wealth, indus- 
try, energy, skill, genius — come of Thee; and 
when we consecrate their triumphs unto Thee, 



21 

we give Thee but Thine own. Enable us 
to see in the strength and grandeur of this 
structure the evident tokens of Thy power, 
bringing mighty things to pass through the 
weakness of Thy creatures. Give us grace and 
wisdom to discern in all this work the nobler 
uses it was ordained by Thee to subserve. 
Teach us to know that all this mighty fabric 
is but vanity, save as it shall promote Thy 
sovereign purpose toward the sons of men. 
O Lord God, clothed with majesty and honor, 
decking Thyself with light as with a garment, 
and spreading out the heavens like a curtain, 
with the beams of Thy chambers in the 
waters, and the clouds for Thy chariot, walking 
upon the wings of the wind. Thy messen- 
gers spirits and Thy ministers a flaming fire, 
accept, we beseech Thee, this last and chiefest 
fruit of human toil and genius as a tribute to 
Thy glory, and a new power making for 
righteousness and peace amid all conflicts of 
earthly interests, and all the stir and pomp of 
worldly aggrandizement. Our life is a thing 
of nought, and our purposes vanish away ; but 



22 



Thy years shall not fail, and with Thee the 
beginning and the end are the same. There- 
fore we Implore Thee to bless and direct this 
work, that it shall be more than a highway for 
the things that perish, even a path of Thy 
eternal Spirit lifting by His own Infinite grace, 
more and more, as the years roll on, the peo- 
ple of these cities toward the plane of Thine 
own life — the life of endless peace, of absolute 
unity, and perfect love, through Jesus Christ, 
the one Redeemer and Mediator between God 
and man. Amen. 



Address of Wm, C. Kingsley, 



President of the Board of Trustees. 



In the presence of this great assemblage, and 
of the chosen representatives of the people of 
these two great cities, of the Governor of the 
State of New York and of the President of the 
United States, the pleasing duty devolves upon 
me, as the official agent of the Board of Trus- 
tees of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, to 
announce formally to the chief magistrates of 
these two municipalities that this Bridge is now 
ready to be opened for public use, and is sub- 
ject in its control and management only to such 
restrictions as the people, to whom it belongs, 
may choose to impose upon themselves. If I 
were at liberty to consult my own wishes I 
should not attempt to occupy your attention any 
further. I am not here as the spokesman of 



24 

my associates in the Board of Bridge Trustees, 
They are well content to let this great structure 
speak for them, and to speak more fittingly and 
more eloquently yet for the skillful, faithful and 
daring men who have given so many years of 
their lives — and in several instances even their 
lives — to the end that the natural barrier to 
the union, growth and greatness of this great 
commercial centre should be removed, and that 
a vast scientific conception should be matched 
in the skill, and courage, and endurance upon 
which it depended for its realization. With one 
name, in an especial sense, this Bridge will 
always be associated — that of Roebling. At the 
outset of this enterprise we were so fortunate 
as to be able to secure the services of the late 
John A. Roebling, who had built the chief sus- 
pension bridges in this country, and who had 
just then completed the largest suspension bridge 
ever constructed up to that time. His name and 
achievements were of invaluable service to this 
enterprise in its infancy. They secured for it a 
confidence not otherwise obtainable. He entered 
promptly and with more than professional zeal 



25 

Into the work of erecting a bridge over the East 
River. As is universally known, while testing 
and perfecting his surveys his foot was crushed 
between the planks of one of our piers ; lockjaw 
supervened, and the man who designed this 
Bridge lost his life in its service. The main 
designs were, however, completed by the elder 
Roebling before he met his sad and untimely 
death. He was succeeded at once by his son, 
Colonel Washington A. Roebling, who had for 
years before shared in his father's professional 
confidences and labors. Here the son did not 
succeed the father by inheritance merely. The 
elder Roebling, according to his own statements, 
would not have undertaken the conduct of this 
work at his age — and he was independent of 
mere professional gain — If It were not for the 
fact, as he frequently stated, that he had a son 
who was entirely capable of building this Bridge. 
Indeed, the elder Roebling advised that the son, 
who was destined to carry on and complete the 
work, should be placed In chief authority at the 
beginning. The turning point — as determining 
the feasibility of this enterprise — was reached 



26 

down in the earth, and under the bed of the 
East River. During the anxious days and nights 
while work was going on within the caissons, 
Colonel Roebling seemed to be always on hand, 
at the head of his men, to direct their efforts, 
and to guard against a mishap or a mistake 
which, at this stage of the work, might have 
proved to be disastrous. The foundations of the 
towers were successfully laid, and the problem of 
the feasibility of the Bridge was solved. Colonel 
Roebling contracted the mysterious disease in 
the caissons which had proved fatal to several 
of the workmen in our employ. For many long 
and weary years this man, who entered our ser- 
vice young and full of life, and hope, and daring, 
has been an invalid and confined to his home. 
He has never seen this structure as it now 
stands, save from a distance. But the disease, 
which has shattered his nervous system for the 
time, seemed not to have enfeebled his mind. It 
appeared even to quicken his intellect. His phys- 
ical infirmities shut him out, so to speak, from 
the world, and left him dependent largely on the 
society of his family, but it gave him for a com- 



27 

panion day and night this darHng child of his gen- 
ius — every step of whose progress he has directed 
and watched over with paternal solicitude. Col- 
onel Roebling may never walk across this Bridge, 
as so many of his fellow-men have done to-day, 
but while this structure stands he will make all 
who use it his debtor. His infirmities are still 
such that he who would be the centre of inter- 
est on this occasion, and even in this greatly 
distinguished company, is conspicuous by his 
absence. This enterprise was only less fortunate 
in securing an executive head than in obtaining 
scientific direction. For sixteen years together 
the late Hon. Henry C. Murphy stood for this 
work wherever it challenged the enmity of an 
opponent or needed an advocate, a supporter 
and a friend. He devised the legislation under 
which it was commenced. He staked in its 
inception a large portion of his private fortune 
on its success. He upheld its feasibility and 
utility before committees, and legislatures, and 
law courts, and in every forum of public discus- 
sion. For years he looked forward to this day 
to fittingly close the activities of a long, useful 



28 

and, in many respects, an illustrious career. It 
was not permitted him to see it, but he saw 
very near the end, and he lived long enough to 
realize, what is now admitted, that he was to 
the end of his days engaged in a work from 
which the name of the city he loved so well will 
never be disassociated, for it is a work the his- 
tory of which will for all time be embraced in 
the records of the achievements of American 
enterprise and of American genius. I am sure I 
speak for the Board of Trustees in returning 
their thanks to all the professional gentlemen 
who have been in our employ — and especially 
to Messrs. Martin, Paine, Farrington, McNulty 
and Probasco. For the most part these men 
have been engaged on the Bridge from its com- 
mencement to its completion. It has always 
seemed to the Trustees as if the highest and the 
humblest workmen engaged on this work were 
alike influenced by the spirit of enterprise in 
which the Bridge had its origin. Men whose 
daily compensation was not more than sufficient 
to provide them and their families with their 
daily bread were at all times ready to take their 



29 

lives in their hands in the performance of the 
imperative and perilous duties assigned them. 
In the direct prosecution of the work twenty 
men lost their lives. Peace hath its victories, 
and it has Its victims and its martyrs, too. Of 
the seven consulting engineers to whom the ma- 
tured plans of the elder Roebling were submit- 
ted — all men of the highest eminence in their 
profession — three have passed away, and four 
are living to witness, in the assured success of 
this structure, the one ratification of their judg- 
ment w^hich cannot be questioned. 

It remains for me to say, in conclusion, that 
the two cities rose at all times to the level of 
the spirit of our time and country. Their citi- 
zens staked millions on what seemed to many 
to be an experiment — a structure, it was often 
said, that at its best would not be of any actual 
use. How solid it is ; how far removed it is from 
all sense of apprehension ; how severely practical 
it is in all its relations, and how great a factor 
in the corporate lives of these cities it is destined 
to be, we all now realize. This Bridge has cost 
many millions of dollars, and it has taken many 



30 



years to build it. May I say on this occasion 
that the people whom you represent (turning to 
where the Mayors of the two cities stood to- 
gether) would not part with the Bridge to-day 
for even twice or thrice its cost ? And may 
I remind those who, not unnaturally, perhaps, 
have been disappointed and irritated by delays 
in the past, that those who enter a race with 
Time for a competitor have an antagonist that 
makes no mistakes, is subject to no interference 
and liable to no accident. 



Address of Hon, Seth Low, 



Mayor of the City of Brooklyn. 



Gentlemen of the Trustees — With profound 
satisfaction, on behalf of the City of Brooklyn, 
I accept the completed Bridge. Fourteen times 
the earth has made its great march through the 
heavens since the work began. The vicissitudes 
of fourteen years have tried the courage and the 
faith of engineers and of people. At last we 
all rejoice in the signal triumph. The beautiful 
and stately structure fulfills the fondest hope. 
It will be a source of pleasure to-day to every 
citizen that no other name is associated with 
the end than that which has directed the work 
from the beginning — the name of Roebling. 
With all my heart I give to him who bears 
it now the city's acknowledgment and thanks. 

Fourteen years ago a city of 400,000 people 






on this side of the river heard of a projected 
suspension bridge with IncreduHty. The span 
was so long, the height so great, and the enter- 
prise Hkely to be so costly, that few thought 
of It as something begun In earnest. The Irre- 
sistible demands of commerce enforced these hard 
conditions. But Science said, '' It Is possible," 
and Courage said, '' It shall be!" To-day a city 
of 600,000 people welcomes with enthusiasm 
the wonderful creation of genius. Graceful, and. 
yet majestic. It clings to the land like a thing 
that has taken root. Beautiful as a vision 
of fairyland It salutes our sight. The impres- 
sion It makes upon the visitor is one of aston- 
ishment, an astonishment that grows with every 
visit. No one who has been upon it can ever 
forget it. This great structure cannot be con- 
fined to the limits of local pride. The glory of 
it belongs to the race. Not one shall see it 
and not feel prouder to be a man. 

And yet it Is distinctly an American triumph. 
American genius designed it, American skill built 
it, and American workshops made it. About 
1837 the Screw Dock across the river, then 



00 



known as the Hydrostatic Lifting Dock, was 
built. In order to construct it the Americans 
of that day were obHged to have the cyHnders 
cast in England. What a stride from 1837 to 
1883 — from the Hydrostatic Dock to the New 
York and Brooklyn Bridge ! 

And so this Bridge is a wonder of science. 
But in no less degree it is a triumph of faith. 
I speak not now of the courage of those who 
projected it. Except for the faith which re- 
moves mountains yonder river could not have 
been spanned by this Bridge. It is true that 
the material which has gone into it has been 
paid for ; the labor which has been spent upon 
it has received its hire. But the money which 
did these things w^as not the money of those 
who own the Bridge. The money was lent to 
them on the faith that these two great cities 
would redeem their bond. So have the Alps 
been tunneled in our day ; while the ancient 
prophecy has been fulfilled that faith should 
remove mountains. We justify this faith in us as 
we pay for the Bridge by redeeming the bond. 

In the course of the construction of the 
3 



34 

Bridge a number of lives have been lost. Does 
it not sometimes seem as though every work 
of enduring value, in the material as in the 
moral world, must needs be purchased at the 
cost of human life ? Let us recall with kind- 
ness at this hour the work of those who 
labored here faithfully unto the death, no less 
than of that great army of men who have 
wrought, year in and year out, to execute the 
great design. Let us give our meed of praise 
to-day to the humblest workman who has here 
done his duty well, no less than to the great 
engineer who told him wdiat to do. 

The importance of this Bridge in its far- 
reaching effects at once entices and baffles the 
imagination. At either end of the Bridge lies 
a great city — cities full of vigorous life. The 
activities and the energies of each flow over into 
the other. The electric current has conveyed 
unchecked between the two the interchanging 
thoughts, but the rapid river has ever bidden 
halt to the foot of man. It is as though the 
population of these cities had been brought 
down to the river-side, year after year, there to 



35 

be taught patience ; and as though, in this 
Bridge, after these many years, patience had 
had her perfect work. The ardent merchant, 
the busy lawyer, the impatient traveler — all, 
without distinction and without exception — at 
the river have been told to wait. No one can 
compute the loss of time ensuing daily from 
delays at the ferries to the multitudes crossing 
the stream. And time is not only money — 
it is opportunity. Brooklyn becomes available, 
henceforth, as a place of residence to thousands, 
to whom the ability to reach their places of 
business without interruption from fog and ice 
is of paramount importance. To all Brooklyn's 
present citizens a distinct boon is given. The 
certainty of communication with New York 
afforded by the Bridge is the fundamental ben- 
efit it confers. Incident to this is the oppor- 
tunity it gives for rapid communication. 

As the water of the lakes found the salt sea 
when the Erie Canal was opened, so surely 
will quick communication seek and find this 
noble Bridge, and as the ships have carried 
hither and thither the products of the mighty 



36 

West, so shall diverging railroads transport the 
people swiftly to their homes in the hospitable 
city of Brooklyn. The Erie Canal is a water- 
way through the land connecting the great 
West with the older East. This Bridge is a 
landway over the water, connecting two cities 
bearing to each other relations in some respects 
similar. It is the function of such works to 
bless ''both him that gives and him that takes." 
The development of the West has not belittled, 
but has enlarged New York, and Brooklyn will 
grow by reason of this Bridge, not at New 
York's expense, but to her permanent advan- 
tage. The Brooklyn of 1900 can hardly be 
guessed at from the city of to-day. The hand 
of Time is a mighty hand. To those who are 
privileged to live in sight of this noble struc- 
ture every line of it should be eloquent with 
inspiration. Courage, enterprise, skill, faith, en- 
durance — these are the qualities which have 
made the great Bridge, and these are the quali- 
ties which will make our city great and our 
people great. God grant they never may be 
lacking in our midst. Gentlemen of the Trus- 



tees, In accepting the Bridge at your hands, I 
thank you warmly In Brooklyn's name for your 
manifold and arduous labors. 



Address of Hon. Franklin Edson 



Mayor of the City of New York. 



Mr. President — On behalf of the City of New 
York, I accept the great work which you now 
tender as ready for the pubhc use of the two 
cities which it so substantially and, at the same 
time, so gracefully joins together. 

The City of New York joyfully unites with 
the City of Brooklyn in extending to you, sir, 
and to those who have been associated with you, 
sincere congratulations upon the successful com- 
pletion of this grand highway, establishing, as it 
does, an enduring alliance between these two 
great cities. Through the wisdom, energy, zeal 
and patience of yourself and your co-laborers in 
this vast enterprise, we are enabled this day to 
recognize the fact that a common and unbroken 
current flows through the veins of these two 



39 

cities, which must add In no small degree to the 
strength, healthful growth and prosperity of both, 
and we believe that what has thus been joined 
together shall never be put asunder. 

When, more than fifteen years ago, you, Mr. 
President, foresaw the advantages that would 
surely accrue to these cities from the establish- 
ment of such a means of communication between 
them, few could be found to look upon such 
advantages as other than, at best, problematical. 
To-day, however, they are recognized, and so 
fully, that before this Bridge was completed the 
building of another not far distant had begun to 
be seriously considered. 

It was forty years after the vast advantages 
of water communication between the Hudson and 
the great lakes had dawned upon the mind of 
Washington, in the course of a tour through 
the valley of the Mohawk, that such a work 
came to be appreciated by the people, and 
resulted In that grand artery of wealth to our 
State, the Erie Canal. So I believe it has ever 
been in the past with the initiation and con- 
struction of great public works, and with the 



40 

introduction of agencies and methods which have 
been of the greatest benefit to mankind through- 
out the world, and so perhaps it will ever be. 
Yet, for the welfare of these two cities, let us 
venture the hope that the tide of improvement 
and of active preparation is setting in, for it 
behooves us more than most are aware to be 
forecasting our future necessities, and to recog- 
nize the fact that 

There is a tide in the affairs of cities^ 

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.' 

It is not difficult for most of us to look back 
twenty-five years and see clearly the wonderful 
strides which have been made in population, 
commerce, manufacturing and financial interests, 
and in all the industries which help to make 
great and prosperous communities ; nor is it dif- 
ficult to trace the wonders that have been 
wrought through the agencies of steam and 
electricity within those years. But to look for- 
ward twenty-five years and attempt to discern 
the condition of things in this metropolis, if they 
shall continue to move forward on the same 
scale of progress, is an undertaking that few 



41 

can grasp. No one dares accept the possibilities 
that are forced upon the mind In the course of 
its contemplation. Will these two cities ere then 
have been consolidated into one great munici- 
pality, numbering within Its limits more than five 
millions of people? Will the right of self-gov- 
ernment have been accorded to the great city, 
thus united, and will her people have learned 
how best to exercise that right ? Will the pro- 
gress of Improvement and the preparation for 
commerce, manufactories and trade, and for the 
comforts of home for poor and rich, have kept 
pace with the demand In the great and grow- 
ing city ? Will the establishment of life-giving 
parks, embellished wqth appropriate fountains and 
statues and with the numberless graces of art, 
which at once gladden the eye and raise the 
standard of civilization, have kept abreast with 
its growth In wealth and numbers ? 

These are but few of the pertinent questions 
which must be answered by the zealous and hon- 
est acts of the generation of men already in 
active life. Here are the possibilities ; all the 
elements and conditions are here ; but the 



42 

results must depend upon the wisdom and patri- 
otism and energy of those who shall lead in 
public affairs. May they be clothed with a spirit 
of wisdom and knowledge akin to that which 
inspired those who conceived and executed the 
great woi*k which we receive at your hands and 
dedicate to-day. 



Address OF Hon.Abram S, Hewitt, 



Two hundred and seventy years ago the 
good ship '' Tiger," commanded by Captain 
Adraien Block, was burned to the w^ater's edge, 
as she lay at anchor, just off the southern end 
of Manhattan Island. Her crew, thus forced 
into winter quarters, were the first white men 
who built and occupied a house on the land 
where New York now stands ; " then," to quote 
the graphic language of Mrs. Lamb, in her his- 
tory of the City, " in primeval solitude, waiting 
till commerce should come and claim its own. 
Nature wore a hardy countenance, as wild and 
as untamed as the savage landholders. Man- 
hattan's twenty-two thousand acres of rock, lake 
and rolling table land, rising at places to a 
height of one hundred and thirty-eight feet, 



44 

were covered with sombre forests, grassy knolls 
and dismal swamps. The trees were lofty ; and 
old, decayed and withered limbs contrasted with 
the younger growth of branches ; and wild 
flowers wasted their sweetness among the dead 
leaves and uncut herbage at their roots. The 
wanton grapevine swung carelessly from the 
topmost boughs of the oak and the sycamore ; 
and blackberry and raspberry bushes, like a 
picket guard, presented a bold front in all pos- 
sible avenues of approach. The entire surface 
of the island was bold and granitic, and in 
profile resembled the cartilaginous back of the 
sturgeon." 

This primeval scene was the product of nat- 
ural forces working through uncounted periods 
of time ; the continent slowly rising and falling 
in the sea like the heaving breast of a world 
asleep ; glaciers carving patiently through ages 
the deep estuaries ; seasons innumerable cloth- 
ing the hills with alternate bloom and decay. 

The same sun shines to-day upon the same 
earth ; yet how transformed ! Could there be a 
more astounding exhibition of the power of 



45 

man to change the face of nature than the 
panoramic view which presents itself to the 
spectator standing upon the crowning arch of 
the Bridge, whose completion we are here to- 
day to celebrate in the honored presence of 
the President of the United States, with their 
fifty millions ; of the Governor of the State of 
New York, with its five millions ; and of the 
Mayors of the two cities, aggregating over two 
millions of inhabitants ? In the place of still- 
ness and solitude, the footsteps of these mil- 
lions of human beings ; instead of the smooth 
waters '' un vexed by any keel," highways of com- 
merce ablaze with the flags of all the nations ; 
and where once was the green monotony of 
forested hills, the piled and towering splendors 
of a vast metropolis, the countless homes of 
industry, the echoing marts of trade, the gor- 
geous palaces of luxury, the silent and stead- 
fast spires of worship ! 

To crown all, the work of separation wrought 
so surely, yet so slowly, by the hand of Time, 
is now reversed in our own day, and '' Mana- 
hatta " and '' Seawanhaka " are joined again, as 



46 

once they were before the dawn of life in the 
far azoic ages. 

'' It is done ! 

Clang of bell and roar of gun 
Send the tidings up and down. 

How the belfries rock and reel ! 

How the great guns, peal on peal, 
Fling the joy from town to town ! " 

'' What hath God wrought ! " were the words 
of wonder, which ushered into being the mag- 
netic telegraph, the greatest marvel of the 
many marvelous inventions of the present cen- 
tury. It was the natural impulse of the pious 
maiden who chose this first messao^e of rever- 
ence and awe, to look to the Divine Power as 
the author of a new gospel. For it was the 
invisible, and not the visible agency, which ad- 
dressed itself to her perceptions. Neither the 
bare poles, nor the slender wire, nor the silent 
battery, could suggest an adequate explanation 
of the extinction of time and space which was 
manifest to her senses, and she could only say, 
''What hath God wrought!" 

But when we turn from the unsightly tele- 
graph to the graceful structure at whose portal 



47 

we stand, and when the airy outHne of Its curves 
of beauty, pendant between massive towers 
suggestive of art alone. Is contrasted with the 
over-reaching vault of heaven above and the 
ever-moving flood of waters beneath, the work of 
omnipotent power, we are irresistibly moved to 
exclaim, '' What hath man wrought ! " 

Man hath, indeed, wrought far more than 
strikes the eye In this daring undertaking, by 
the general judgment of engineers, without a 
rival amonor the wonders of human skill. It is 
not the work of any one man or of any one 
age. It Is the result of the study, of the expe- 
rience, and of the knowledge of many men in 
many ages. It Is not merely a creation — it Is 
a growth. It stands before us to-day as the 
sum and epitome of human knowledge ; as the 
very heir of the ages ; as the latest glory of 
centuries of patient observation, profound study 
and accumulated skill, gained, step, by step, in 
the never-ending struggle of man to subdue 
the forces of nature to his control and use. 

In no previous period of the world's history 
could this Bridge have been built. Within the 



48 

last hundred years the greater part of the knowl- 
edge necessary for its erection has been gained. 
Chemistry was not born until 1776, the year 
when political economy was ushered into the 
world by Adam Smith, and the Declaration of 
Independence was proclaimed by the Continental 
Congress, to be maintained at the point of the 
sword by George Washington. In the same 
year Watt produced his successful steam engine, 
and a century has not elapsed since the first 
specimen of his skill was erected on this conti- 
nent. The law of gravitation was indeed known 
a hundred years ago, but the intricate laws of 
force, which now control the domain of industry, 
had not been developed by the study of physical 
science, and their practical applications have only 
been effectually accomplished within our own 
day, and, indeed, some of the most important of 
them during the building of the Bridge. For 

use in the caissons, the perfecting of the elec- 

< 
trie light came too late, though, happily, in sea- 
son for the illumination of the finished work. 

This construction has not only employed every 
abstract conclusion and formula of mathematics, 



49 

whether derived from the study of the earth or 
the heavens, but the whole structure may be said 
to rest upon a mathematical foundation. The 
great discoveries of chemistry, showing the com- 
position of water, the nature of gases, the prop- 
erties of metals ; the laws and processes of 
physics, from the strains and pressures of mighty 
masses to the delicate vibrations of molecules, 
are all recorded here. Every department of hu- 
man industry is represented, from the quarrying 
and the cutting of the stones, the mining and 
smelting of the ores, the conversion of iron 
into steel by the pneumatic process, to the final 
shaping of the masses of metal into useful forms, 
and its reduction into wire, so as to develop in 
the highest degree the tensile strength which 
fits it for the work of suspension. Every tool 
which the ingenuity of man has invented has 
somewhere, in some special detail, contributed 
its share in the accomplishment of the final 
result. 

" Ah ! what a wondrous thing it is 

To note how many wheels of toil 

One word, one thought can set in motion." 

4 



50 

But without the most recent discoveries of 
science, which have enabled steel to be substi- 
tuted for iron — applications made since the orig- 
inal plans of the Bridge were devised — we should 
have had a structure fit, indeed, for use, but of 
such moderate capacity that we could not have 
justified the claim which we are now able to 
make, that the cities of New York and Brook- 
lyn have constructed, and to-day rejoice in the 
possession of, the crowning glory of an age 
memorable for great industrial achievements. 

This is not the proper occasion for describing 
the details of this undertaking. This grateful 
task will be performed by the engineer in the 
final report, with which every great work is prop- 
erly committed to the judgment of posterity. 
But there are some lessons to be drawn from 
the line of thought I have followed wdiich may 
encourage and comfort us as to the destiny of 
man and the outcome of human progress. 

What message, then, of hope and cheer does 
this achievement convey to those who would fain 
believe that love travels hand in hand with light 
along the rugged pathway of time ? Have the 



51 

discoveries of science, the triumphs of art and 
the progress of civiHzation, which have made its 
accompHshment a possibiHty and a reaHty, pro- 
moted the welfare of mankind, and raised the 
great mass of the people to a higher plane of 
life ? 

This question can best be answered by com- 
paring the compensation of the labor employed 
in the building of this Bridge with the earnings 
of labor upon works of equal magnitude in ages 
gone by. The money expended for the work of 
construction proper on the Bridge, exclusive of 
land damages and other outlays, such as inter- 
est, not entering into actual cost, is nine mil- 
lion ($9,000,000) dollars. This money has been 
distributed in numberless channels — for quarry- 
ing, for mining, for smelting, for fabricating the 
metals, for shaping the materials, and erecting 
the work, employing every kind and form of 
human labor. The wages paid at the Bridge 
itself may be taken as the fair standard of the 
wages paid for the work done elsewhere. These 
wages are : 



52 

Average. 
Laborers, ----- $i 75 per day. 

Blacksmiths, - - - - 3 50 to $4 oo do. 

Carpenters, - - - - 3 00 to 3 50 do. 

Masons and Stonecutters, 3 50 to 4 00 do. 

Riggers, 2 00 to 2 50 do. 

Painters, ----- 2 00 to 3 50 do. 

Taking all these kinds of labor into account, 
the wages paid for work on the Bridge will 
thus average $2.50 per day. 

Now, if this work had been done at the time 
when the Pyramids were built, with the skill, 
appliances and tools then in use, and if the 
money available for its execution had been lim- 
ited to nine million ($9,000,000) dollars, the 
laborers employed would have received an aver- 
age of not more than two cents per day, in 
money of the same purchasing power as the 
coin of the present era. In other words, the 
effect of the discoveries of new methods, tools 
and laws of force, has been to raise the wages 
of labor more than an hundred fold, in the 
interval which has elapsed since the Pyramids 
were built. I shall not weaken the suggestive 



53 

force of this statement by any comments upon 
its astounding evidence of progress, beyond the 
obvious corollary that such a state of civilization 
as gave birth to the Pyramids would now be 
the signal for universal bloodshed, revolution 
and anarchy. I do not underestimate the hard- 
ships borne by the labor of our time. They 
are, indeed, grievous, and to lighten them is, as 
it should be, the chief concern of statesman- 
ship. But this comparison proves that through 
forty centuries these hardships have been stead- 
ily diminished ; that all the achievements of 
science, all the discoveries of art, all the inven- 
tions of genius, all the progress of civilization, 
tend by a higher and immutable law to the 
steady and certain amelioration of the condition 
of society. It shows that, notwithstanding the 
apparent growth of great fortunes, due to an 
era of unparalleled development, the distribution 
of the fruits of labor is approaching from age 
to age to more equitable conditions, and must, 
at last, reach the plane of absolute justice 
between man and man. 

But this is not the only lesson to be drawn 



54 

from such a comparison. The Pyramids were 
built by the sacrifices of the Hving for the dead. 
They served no useful purpose, except to make 
odious to future generations the tyranny which 
degrades humanity to the level of the brute. In 
this age of the world such a waste of effort 
would not be tolerated. To-ciay the expendi- 
tures of communities are directed to useful pur- 
poses. Except upon works designed for defence 
in time of war, the wealth of society is now 
mainly expended in opening channels of commu- 
nication for the free play of commerce, and the 
communion of the human race. An analysis of 
the distribution of the surplus earnings of man 
after providing food, shelter and raiment, shows 
that they are chiefly absorbed by railways, canals, 
ships, bridges and telegraphs. In ancient times 
these objects of expenditure were scarcely known. 
Our Bridge is one of the most conspicuous 
examples of this change in the social condition 
of the world, and of the feeling of men. In 
the Middle Ages cities walled each other out, 
and the fetters of prejudice and tyranny held 
the energies of man in hopeless bondage. To- 



c 



5 



day men and nations seek free intercourse with 
each other, and much of the force of the intel- 
lect and energy of the world is expended in 
breaking clown the barriers established by nature, 
or created by man, to the solidarity of the human 
race. 

And yet, in view of this tendency, the most 
striking and characteristic feature of the nine- 
teenth century, there still are those who believe 
and teach that obstruction is the creator of 
wealth ; that the peoples can be made great and 
free by the erection of artificial barriers to the 
beneficent action of commerce, and the unre- 
stricted intercourse of men and nations with 
each other. If they are right, then this Bridge 
is a colossal blunder, and the doctrine which 
bids us to love our neighbors as ourselves is 
founded upon a misconception of the divine 
purpose. 

But the Bridge is more than an embodiment 
of the scientific knowledge of physical laws, or 
a symbol of social tendencies. It is equally a 
monument to the moral qualities of the human 
soul. It could never have been built by mere 



56 

knowledge and scientific skill alone. It required, 
in addition, the infinite patience and unwearied 
courage by which great results are achieved. It 
demanded the endurance of heat, and cold, 
and physical distress. Its constructors have had 
to face death in its most repulsive form. Death, 
indeed, was the fate of its great projector, and 
dread disease the heritage of the greater engi- 
neer who has brought it to completion. The 
faith of the saint and the courage of the hero 
have been combined in the conception, the 
design and the execution of this work. 

Let us, then, record the names of the engi- 
neers and foremen who have thus made humanity 
itself their debtor for a successful achievement, 
not the result of accident or of chance, but the 
fruit of design, and of the consecration of all 
personal interest to the public weal. They are : 
John A. Roebling, who conceived the project 
and formulated the plan of the Bridge ; Wash- 
ington A. Roebling, who, inheriting his father's 
genius, and more than his father's knowledge 
and skill, has directed the execution of this great 
work from its inception to its completion ; aided 



57 

in the several departments by Charles C. Martin, 
Francis ColHngwood, WilHam H. Paine, George 
W. McNidtv, Wilhelm Hildenbrand and Samuel 
R. Probasco as assistant engineers ; and as foremen 
by E. F. Farrington, Arthur V. Abbott, William 
Van der Bosch, Charles Young and Harry Tup- 
pie, who, in apparently subordinate positions, 
have shown themselves peculiarly fitted to com- 
mand, because they have known how to serve. 
But the record would not be complete without 
reference to the unnamed men by whose unflinch- 
ing courage, in the depths of the caissons, and 
upon the suspended wires, the work was carried 
on amid storms, and accidents, and dangers, suf- 
ficient to appall the stoutest heart. To them we 
can only render the tribute which history accords 
to those who fight as privates in the battles of 
freedom, with all the more devotion and patriot- 
ism because their names w^ill never be known 
by the world whose benefactors they are. One 
name, however, which may find no place in the 
official records, cannot be passed over here in 
silence." In ancient times when great works 
were constructed, a goddess was chosen, to whose 



58 

tender care they were dedicated. Thus the ruins 
of the AcropoHs to-day recall the name of Pallas 
Athene to an admirinof world. In the Middle 
Ages, the blessing of some saint was invoked to 
protect from the rude attacks of the barbarians, 
and the destructive hand of time, the building 
erected by man's devotion to the worship of 
God. So, with this Bridge will ever be coupled 
the thought of one, through the subtle alembic 
of whose brain, and by whose facile fingers, com- 
munication was maintained between the direct- 
ing power of its construction, and the obedient 
agencies of its execution. It is thus an ever- 
lasting monument to the self-sacrificing devotion 
of woman, and of her capacity for that higher 
education from which she has been too long 
debarred. The name of Mrs. Emily Warren 
Roebling will thus be inseparably associated with 
all that is admirable in human nature, and with 
all that is wonderful in the constructive world 
of art. 

This tribute to the engineers, however, would 
not be deserved, if there is to be found any evi- 
dence of deception on their part in the origin 



59 

of the work, or any complicity with fraud in its 
execution and completion. It is this consider- 
ation which induced me to accept the unexpected 
invitation of the trustees to speak for the city 
of New York on the present occasion. When 
they thus honored me, they did not know that 
John A. Roebling addressed to me the letter in 
which he first suggested (and, so far as I am 
aware, he was the first engineer to suggest), the 
feasibility of a bridge between the two cities, so 
constructed as to preserve unimpaired the free- 
dom of navigation. This letter, dated June 19, 
1857, I caused to be printed in the New York 
Jojtrnal of Commerce, where it attracted great 
attention because it came from an engineer who 
had already demonstrated, by successfully build- 
ing suspension bridges over the Schuylkill, the 
Ohio and the Niagara rivers, that he spoke with 
the voice of experience and authority. This 
letter was the first step towards the construction 
of the work, which, however, came about in a 
manner different from his expectations, and was 
finally completed on a plan more extensive than 
he had ventured to describe. It has been chareed 



6o 

that the original estimates of cost have been far 
exceeded by the actual outlay. If this were 
true, the words of praise which I have uttered 
for the engineers, who designed and executed 
this work, ought rather to have been a sentence 
of censure and condemnation. Hence, the Invi- 
tation which came to me unsought, seemed rather 
to be an appeal from the grave for such vindi- 
cation as It was within my power to make, and 
which could not come with equal force from 
any other quarter. 

Engineers are of two kinds : the creative and 
the constructive. The power to conceive great 
works demands imagination and faith. The crea- 
tive engineer, like the poet, is born, not made. If 
to the power to conceive, is added the ability to 
execute, then have we one of those rare gen- 
iuses who not only give a decided impulse to 
civilization, but add new glory to humanity. 
Such men were Michael Angelo, Leonardo da 
Vinci, Watt, Wedgwpod, Brunei, Stephenson and 
Bessemer; and such a man was John A. Roebllng. 
It was his striking peculiarity, that while his 
conceptions were bold and original, his execution 



6i 

was always exact, and within the Hmits of cost 
which he assiofned to the work of his brain. He 
had made bridges a study, and had declared 
in favor of the suspension principle for heavy 
traffic, when the greatest hving authorities had 
condemned it as costly and unsafe. When he 
undertook to build a suspension bridge for rail- 
way use, he did so in the face of the deliberate 
judgment of the profession, that success would 
be impossible. Stephenson had condemned the 
suspension principle and approved the tubular 
girder for railway traffic. But it was the Nemesis 
of his fate, that when he came out to approve 
the location of the orreat tubular brido^e at Mon- 
treal, he should pass over the Niagara River in 
a railway train, on a suspension bridge, which 
he had declared to be an impracticable under- 
taking. 

When Roebling suggested the Bridge over 
the East River, his ideas were limited to the 
demands of the time, and controlled by the 
necessity for a profitable investment. He had 
no expectation that the two cities would embark 
in the enterprise. Indeed, in one of his letters 



62 

so late as April 14, i860, he says, ''xA.s to the 
corporations of New York and Brooklyn under- 
taking the job, no such hope may be enter- 
tained in our time." In eight years thereafter, 
these cities had undertaken the task upon a 
scale of expense far exceeding his original ideas 
of a structure, to be built exclusively by pri- 
vate capital for the sake of profit. 

How came this miracle to pass? The war of 
the rebellion occurred, delaying for a time the 
further consideration of Roebling's ideas. This 
war accustomed the nation to expenditures on 
a scale of which it had no previous conception. 
It did more than expend large sums of money. 
Officials became corrupt and organized them- 
selves for plunder. In the city of New York, 
especially, the government fell into the hands 
of a band of thieves, who engaged in a series 
of great and beneficial public works, not for the 
good they might do, but for the opportunity 
which they would afford to rob the public treasury. 
They erected court-houses and armories ; they 
opened roads, boulevards and parks ; and they 
organized two of the grandest devices for trans- 



63 

portation which the genius of man has ever 
conceived ; a rapid transit railway for New York, 
and a great highway between New York and 
Brooklyn. The Bridge was commenced, but the 
Ring was driven into exile by the force of pub- 
lic indignation, before the rapid transit scheme, 
since executed on a different route by private 
capital, was undertaken. The collapse of the Ring 
brought the work on the Bridge to a stand-still. 
It was a timely event. The patriotic New 
Yorker might well have exclaimed, just before 
this great deliverance, in the words of the Con- 
sul of ancient Rome, in Macaulay's stirring poem, 

''And if they once may win the bridge, 
What hope to save the town ? " 

Meanwhile, the elder Roebling had died, leav- 
inor behind him his estimates and the eeneral 
plans of the structure, to cost, independent of 
land damages and interest, about $7,000,000. 
This great work which, if not '' conceived in 
sin," was ''brought forth in iniquity," thus be- 
came the object of great suspicion, and of a 
prejudice which has not been removed to this 
day. I know that to many I make a startling 



64 

announcement, when I state the incontrovertible 
fact, that no money was ever stolen by the Ring 
from the funds of the Bridge ; that the whole 
money raised has been honestly expended ; that 
the estimates for construction have not been 
materially exceeded ; and that the excess of cost 
over the estimates is due to purchases of land 
which were never included in the estimates ; to 
interest paid on the city subscriptions ; to the 
cost of additional height and breadth of the 
Bridge ; and the increase in strength rendered 
necessary by a better comprehension of the vol- 
ume of traffic between the two cities. The items 
covered by the original estimate of $7,000,000 
have thus been raised to $9,000,000, so that 
$2,000,000 represents the addition to the orig- 
inal estimates. 

For this excess, amounting to less than thirty 
per cent, there is actual value in the Bridge in 
dimension and strength, whereby its working 
capacity has been greatly increased. The car- 
riage-ways, as originally designed, would have 
permitted only a single line of vehicles in each 
direction. The speed of the entire procession, 



65 

more than a mile long, would, therefore, have 
been limited by the rate of the slowest ; and 
every accident causing stoppage to a single cart 
would have stopped everything behind it for an 
indefinite period. It is not too much to say 
that the removal of this objection, by widening 
the carriage-ways, has multiplied manifold the 
practical usefulness of the Bridge. 

The statement I have made is due to the 
memory not only of John A. Roebling, but also 
of Henry C. Murphy, that great man who devot- 
ed his last years to this enterprise ; and who, 
having, like Moses, led the people through the 
toilsome way, was permitted only to look, but 
not to enter upon the promised land. 

This testimony is due also to the living 
trustees and to the engineers who have con- 
trolled and directed this large expenditure in 
the public service, the latter, in the conscientious 
discharge of professional duty ; and the former, 
with no other object than the welfare of the 
public, and without any other possible reward 
than the good opinion of their fellow-citizens. 

I do not make this statement without a full 
5 



66 

sense of the responsibility which it involves, and 
I realize that its accuracy will shortly be tested 
by the report of experts who are now examin- 
ing the accounts. But it will be found that I 
have spoken the words of truth and soberness. 
When the Ring absconded I was asked by Wil- 
liam C. Havemeyer, then the Mayor of New 
York, to become a trustee, in order to inves- 
tigate the expenditures, and to report as to the 
propriety of going on with the work. This duty 
was performed without fear or favor. The 
methods by which the Ring proposed to benefit 
themselves were clear enough, but its members 
fled before they succeeded in reimbursing them- 
selves for the preliminary expenses which they 
had defrayed. W^ith their flight a new era com- 
menced, and during the three years when I 
acted as a trustee, I am sure that no fraud was 
committed, and that none was possible. Since 
that time the Board has been controlled by 
trustees, some of whom are thorough experts 
in bridge building, and the others men of such 
high character that the suggestion of malpractice 
is improbable to absurdity. 



67 

The Bridge has not only been honestly built, 
but It may be safely asserted that It could not 
now be duplicated at the same cost. Much 
money might, however, have been saved If the 
work had not been delayed through want of 
means, and unnecessary obstacles Interposed by 
mistaken public officials. Moreover, measured by 
Its capacity, and the limitations Imposed on Its 
construction by Its relation to the Interests of 
traffic and navigation, It Is the cheapest structure 
ever erected by the genius of man. This will be 
made evident by a single comparison with the 
Britannia Tubular Bridge erected by Stephenson 
over the Menal Straits. He adopted the tubu- 
lar principle, because he believed that the sus- 
pension principle could not be made practical 
for railway traffic, although he had to deal with 
spans not greater than 470 feet. He built a 
structure that contained 10,540 tons of Iron, and 
cost 601,000 pounds sterling, or about $3,000,- 
000. Fortunately he has left a calculation on 
record as to the possible extension of the tubu- 
lar girder, showing that It would reach the lim- 
its In which It could bear only Its own weight 



68 

(62,ooo tons), at 1,570 feet. Now, for a span 
of 1,595^ feet, the Brooklyn Bridge contains but 
6,740 tons of material, and will sustain seven 
times Its own weight. Its cost is $9,000,000, 
whereas a tubular bridge for the same span 
would contain ten times the weight of metal, 
and though costing twice as much money, would 
be without the ability to do any useful work. 

Roebling, therefore, solved the problem which 
had defied Stephenson ; and upon his design 
has been built a successful structure, at half 
the cost of a tubular bridge that would have 
fallen when loaded in actual use. It is impos- 
sible to furnish any more striking proof of the 
genius which originated, and of the economy 
which constructed this triumph of American 
engineering. 

We have thus a monument to the public spirit 
of the two cities, created by an expenditure as 
honest and as economical as the management 
which gave us the Erie Canal, tl>e Croton 
Aqueduct, and the Central Park. Otherwise, 
It would have been a monument to the eternal 
infamy of the trustees and of the 'engineers 



69 

under whose supervision It has been erected, and 
this brings me to the final consideration which 
I feel constrained to offer on this point. 

During all these years of trial, and false 
report, a great soul lay In the shadow of death, 
praying only to stay long enough for the com- 
pletion of the work to which he had devoted his 
life. I say a great soul, for In the spring-time 
of youth, with friends and fortune at his com- 
mand, he gave himself to his country, and for 
her sake braved death on many a well-fought 
battle-field. When restored to civil life, his 
health was sacrificed to the duties which had 
devolved upon him, as the Inheritor of his fath- 
er's fame, and the executor of his father's plans. 
Living only for honor, and freed from the temp- 
tations of narrow means, how Is It conceivable 
that such a man — whose approval was necessary 
to every expenditure — should, by conniving with 
jobbers, throw away more than the life which 
was dear to him, that he might fulfill his des- 
tiny, and leave to his children the heritage of a 
good name and the glory of a grand achieve- 
ment ? Well may this suffering hero quote the 



words of Hyperion : '' Oh, I have looked with 
wonder upon those, who, in sorrow and priva- 
tion, and bodily discomfort, and sickness, which 
is the shadow of death, have worked right on 
to the accomplishment of their great purposes ; 
toiling much, enduring much, fulfilling much ; 
and then, with shattered nerves, and sinews all 
unstrung, have laid themselves down in the 
grave, and slept the sleep of death, and the 
world talks of them while they sleep ! And 
as in the sun's eclipse we can behold the great 
stars shining in the heavens, so in this life- 
eclipse have these men beheld the lights of the 
great eternity, burning solemnly and forever!" 

And now what is to be the outcome of this 
great expenditure upon the highway which 
unites the two cities, for which Dr. Storrs and 
I have the honor to speak to-day ? That Brook- 
lyn will gain in numbers and in wealth with 
accelerated speed is a foregone conclusion. 
Whether this gain shall in any wise be at the 
expense of New York, is a matter in regard to 
which the great metropolis does not concern 
herself. Her citizens are content with the knowl- 



71 



edge that she exists and grows with the growth 
of the whole country, of whose progress and 
prosperity she is but the exponent and the 
index. Will the Bridge lead, as has been for- 
cibly suggested, and in some quarters hopefully 
anticipated, to the further union of the two 
cities under one name and one government ? 
This suggestion is in part sentimental and in 
part practical. So far as the union in name is 
concerned, it is scarcely worth consideration, for 
in any comparison which our national or local 
pride may institute between this metropolis and 
the other great cities of the world, its environ- 
ment, whether in Long Island, Staten Island, or 
New Jersey, will always be included. In con- 
sidering the population of London, no one ever 
separates the city proper from the surrounding 
parts. They are properly regarded as one homo- 
geneous aggregation of human beings. 

It is only when we come to consider the prob- 
lem of governing great masses that the serious 
elements of the question present themselves, 
and must be determined before a satisfactory 
answer can be given. The tendency of modern 



72 

civilization is towards the concentration of popu- 
lation in dense masses. This is due to the 
higher and more diversified life, which can be 
secured by association and co-operation on a 
large scale, affording not merely greater comfort 
and often luxury, but actually distributing the 
fruits of labor on a more equitable basis than 
is possible in sparsely settled regions and among 
feeble communities. The great improvements of 
our day in labor-saving machinery, and its appli- 
cation to agriculture, enable the nation to be 
fed with a less percentage of its total force 
thus applied, and leave a larger margin of 
population free to engage in such other pursuits 
as are best carried on in large cities. 

The disclosures of the last census prove the 
truth of this statement. At the first census in 
1790 the population resident in cities was 3.3 
per cent, of the total population. This percent- 
age slowly gained at each successive census, 
until in 1840 it had reached 8.5 per cent. In 
fifty years it had thus gained a little over five 
per cent. But in 1850 it rose to 12.5 per 
cent; in i860 it was 16. i per cent.; in 1870 it 



11 

was 20.9 per cent., having in this one decade 
gained as much as in the first fifty years of our 
poHtical existence. In 1880 the population resi- 
dent in cities was 22.5 per cent, of the whole 
population. 

With this rapid growth of urban population, 
have grown the contemporaneous complaints of 
corrupt administration and bad municipal gov- 
ernment. The outcry may be said to be univer- 
sal, for it comes from both sides of the Atlantic ; 
and the complaints appear to be in direct pro- 
portion to the size of cities. It is obvious, 
therefore, that the knowledge of the art of local 
government has not kept pace with the growth 
of population. I am here by your favor to 
speak for the city of New York, and I should 
be the last person to throw any discredit on its 
fair fame ; but I think I only give voice to the 
general feeling, when I say that the citizens of 
New York are satisfied neither with the struc- 
ture of its government, nor with its actual 
administration, even when it is in the hands of 
intelligent and honest officials. Dissatisfied as we 
are, no man has been able to devise a system 



74 

which commends Itself to the general approval, 
and it may be asserted that the remedy is not 
to be found in devices for any special machinery 
of government. Experiments without number 
have been tried, and suggestions In infinite 
variety have been offered, but to-day no man 
can say that we have approached any nearer to 
the idea of good government, which is demanded 
by the Intelligence and the wants of the com- 
m-unlty. 

If, therefore. New York has not yet learned 
to govern itself, how can it be expected to be 
better governed by adding half a million to 
its population, and a great territory to its area, 
unless it be with the idea that a ''little leaven 
leaveneth the whole lump." Is Brooklyn that 
leaven? If not, and If possibly ''the salt has 
lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted ?" 
Brooklyn Is now struggling with this problem, 
it remains to be seen with what success ; but 
meanwhile It is idle to consider the idea of get- 
ting rid of our common evils by adding them 
together. 

Besides it is a fundamental axiom in politics, 



approved by the experience of older countries, 
as well as of our own, that the sources of power 
should never be far removed from those who 
are to feel its exercise. It is the violation of 
this principle which produces chronic revolution 
in France, and makes the British rule so obnox- 
ious to the Irish people. This evil is happily 
avoided when a natural boundary circumscribes 
administration within narrow limits. While, 
therefore, we rejoice together at the new bond 
between New York and Brooklyn, we ought to 
rejoice the more, that it destroys none of the 
conditions which permit each city to govern 
itself, but rather urges them to a generous rival- 
ry in perfecting each its own government, recog- 
nizing the truth, that there is no true liberty 
without law, and that eternal vigilance, which is 
the only safeguard of liberty, can best be exer- 
cised within limited areas. 

It would be a most fortunate conclusion, if the 
completion of this Bridge should arouse pub- 
lic attention to the absolute necessity of good 
municipal government, and recall the only prin- 
ciple upon which it can ever be successfully 



76 

founded. There is reason to hope that this 
result will follow, because the erection of this 
structure shows how a problem, analagous to 
that which confronts us in regard to the city 
government, has been met and solved in the 
domain of physical science. 

The men who controlled this enterprise at 
the outset were not all of the best type ; some 
of them, as we have seen, were public jobbers. 
But they knew that they could not build a 
bridge, although they had no doubt of their 
ability to govern a city. They thereupon pro- 
ceeded to organize the knowledge which existed 
as to the construction of bridges ; and they 
held the organization thus created responsible 
for results. Now, we know that it is at least 
as difficult to govern a city as to build a 
bridge, and yet, as citizens, we have deliberately 
allowed the ignorance of the community to be 
organized for its government, and we then com- 
plain that it is a failure. Until we imitate the 
example of the Ring, and organize the intelligence 
of the community for its government, our com- 
plaint is childish and unreasonable. But we 



/ / 



shall be told that there is no analogy between 
building a bridge and governing a city. Let us 
examine this objection. A city is made up of 
infinite interests. They vary from hour to hour, 
and conflict is the law of their being. Many 
of the elements of social life are what mathe- 
maticians term '' variables of the independent 
order." The problem is, to reconcile these con- 
flicting interests and variable elements into one 
organization which shall work without jar, and 
allow each citizen to pursue his calling, if it 
be an honest one, in peace and quiet. 

Now, turn to the Bridge. It looks like a 
motionless mass of masonry and metal ; but, as 
a matter of fact, it is instinct with motion. 
There is not a particle of matter in it which is 
at rest even for the minutest portion of time. 
It is an aggregation of unstable elements, chang- 
ing with every change in the temperature, and 
every movement of the heavenly bodies. The 
problem was, out of these unstable elements, to 
produce absolute stability ; and it was this prob- 
lem which the engineers, the organized intelli- 
gence, had to solve, or confess to inglorious 



78 

failure. The problem has been solved. In the 
first construction of suspension bridges It was 
attempted to check, repress and overcome their 
motion, and failure resulted. It was then seen 
that motion Is the law of existence for suspen- 
sion bridges, and provision was made for Its free 
play. Then they became a success. The Bridge 
before us elongates and contracts between the 
extremes of temperature from 14 to 16 inches; 
the vertical rise and fall in the centre of the 
main span ranges between 2 ft. 3 in. and 2 ft. 
9 In. ; and before the suspenders were attached 
to the cable it actually revolved on Its own 
axis through an arc of thirty degrees, when 
exposed to the sun shining upon it on one side. 
You do not perceive this motion, and you would 
know nothing about it unless you watched the 
gauges which record its movement. 

Now if our political system were guided by 
organized Intelligence, it would not seek to 
repress the free play of human Interests and 
emotions, of human hopes and fears, but would 
make provision for their development and exef- 
cise. In accordance with the higher law of liberty 



79 

and morality. A large portion of our vices 
and crimes are created either by law, or its mal- 
administration. These laws exist because organ- 
ized ignorance, like a highwayman with a club, 
is permitted to stand in the way of wise legis- 
lation and honest administration, and to demand 
satisfaction from the spoils of office, and the 
profits of contracts. Of this state of affairs we 
complain, and on great occasions the community 
arises in its wrath, and visits summary punish- 
ment on the offenders of the hour, and then 
relapses into chronic grumbling until grievances 
sufficiently accumulate to stir it again to action. 

What is the remedy for this state of affairs ? 
Shall there be no more political parties, and 
shall we shatter the political machinery which, 
bad as it is, is far better than no machinery at 
all? Shall we embrace nihilism as our creed, 
because we have practical communism forced 
upon us as the consequence of jobbery, and the 
imposition of unjust taxes ? 

No, let us rather learn the lesson of the 
Bridge. Instead of attempting to restrict suf- 
frage, let us try to educate the voters ; instead 



8o 

of disbanding parties, let each citizen within the 
party always vote, but never for a man who is 
unfit to hold office. Thus parties, as well as 
voters, will be organized on the basis of intelli- 
gence. 

But what man is fit to hold office ? Only he 
who regards political office as a public trust, 
and not as a private perquisite to be used for 
the pecuniary advantage of himself or his fam- 
ily, or even his party. Is there intelligence 
enough in these cities, if thus organized within 
the parties, to produce the result which we 
desire ? Why, the overthrow of the Tweed Ring 
was conclusive evidence of the preponderance of 
public virtue in the city of New York. In no 
other country in the world, and in no other 
political system than one which provides for and 
secures universal suffrage, would such a sudden 
and peaceful revolution have been possible. The 
demonstration of this fact was richly worth the 
twenty-five or thirty millions of dollars which 
the thieves had stolen. Thereafter, and thence- 
forth, there could be no doubt whether our 
city population, heterogeneous as it is, contains 



8i 

within itself sufficient virtue for its own preser- 
vation. Let it never be forgotten that the rem- 
edy is complete ; that it is ever present ; that 
no man ought to be deprived of the opportunity 
of its exercise ; and that, if it be exercised, the 
will of the community can never be paralyzed. 
Our safety and our success rest on the ballot 
in the hands of freemen at the polls, deliber- 
ately deposited, never for an unworthy man, 
but always with a profound sense of the respon- 
sibility which should govern every citizen in the 
exercise of this fundamental right. 

If the lesson of the Bridge, which I have thus 
sought to enforce, shall revive the confidence of 
the people in their own power, and induce them 
to use it practically for the election to office of 
good men, clothed, as were the engineers, with 
sufficient authority, and held, as they were, to 
corresponding responsibility for results, then, 
indeed, will its completion be a public blessing, 
worthy of the new era of industrial development 
in which it is our fortunate lot to live. 

Great, indeed, has been our national pro- 
gress. Perhaps we, who belong to a commercial 



82 

community, do not fully realize its significance 
and promise. We buy and sell stocks, without 
stopping to think that they represent the most 
astonishing achievements of enterprise and skill 
in the magical extension of our vast railway 
system ; we speculate in wheat, without reflect- 
ing on the stupendous fact that the plains of 
Dakota and California are feeding hungry mouths 
in Europe ; we hear that the Treasury has made 
a call for bonds, and forget that the rapid 
extinction of our national debt is a proof- of 
our prosperity and patriotism, as wonderful to 
the world as was the power we exhibited in the 
struggle which left that apparently crushing bur- 
den upon us. If, then, we deal successfully 
with the evils which threaten our political life, 
who can venture to predict the limits of our 
future wealth and glory — wealth that shall enrich 
all ; glory that shall be no selfish heritage, but 
the blessing of mankind? Beyond all legends 
of oriental treasure, beyond all dreams of the 
golden age, will be the splendor, and majesty, 
and happiness of the free people dwelling upon 
this fair domain, when fulfilling the promise of 



83 

the ages and the hopes of humanity they shall 
have learned how to make equitable distribution 
among- themselves of the fruits of their common 
labor. Then, indeed, will be realized by a wait- 
ing world the youthful vision of our own Bryant : 

" Here the free spirit of mankind at length 
Throws its last fetters off ; and who shall place 

A limit to the giant's untamed strength, 
Or curb its swiftness in the forward race ? 

Far, like the comet's way through infinite space, 
Stretches the long untraveled path of light 

Into the depths of ages ; we may trace 
Distant, the brightening glory of its flight, 
Till the receding rays are lost to human sight." 

At the ocean gateway of such a nation well 
may stand the stately figure of " Liberty enlight- 
ening the World ; " and, in hope and faith, as 
well as gratitude, we write upon the towers of 
our beautiful Bridge, to be illuminated by her 
electric ray, the words of exultation, " Finis 
coronal opus!' 



ORATION 



OF 



Richard S, Storrs, D, D,, LL, D, 



Mr. Chairman — Fellow-Citizens: It can sur- 
prise no one that we celebrate the completion 
of this great work, in which lines of delicate and 
aerial grace are combined with a strength more 
enduring than of marbles, and the woven wires 
prolong to these heights the metropolitan ave- 
nues. After delays which have often disturbed 
the popular patience, and have oftener disap- 
pointed the hopes of the builders, we gratefully 
welcome this superb consummation : rejoicing to 
know that ''the silver streak" which so long has 
divided this city from the continent, is conquered, 
henceforth, by the silver band stretching above 
it, careless alike of wind and tide, of ice and fog, 
of current and of calm. 



85 

To the mind which, for fourteen years, has 
watched, guided, and governed the work, looking 
out upon it through physical organs almost fatal- 
ly smitten in its prosecution, we bring our eager 
and unanimous tribute of honor and applause. 
He who took up, elaborated, and has brought 
to fulfillment the plans of the father whose 
own life had been sacrificed in their further- 
ance, has builded to both the noblest memorial. 
He may with truth have said, heretofore, as the 
furnaces have glowed from which this welded 
network has come, in the words of Schiller's 
^'Lay of the Bell:" 

" Deep hid within the nether cell 

What Force with Fire is moulding thus, 
In yonder airy towers shall dwell, 
And witness wide and far of us." 

He may, at this hour, add for himself the lines 
which the poet hears from the lips of his House- 
Master : 

" My house is built upon a rock, 
And sees unmoved the stormy shock 
Of waves that fret below." 

It must be a superlative moment in life v/hen 



86 

one stands on a structure as majestic as this 
which was at first a mere thought in the brain, 
which was afterward a plan on the paper, and 
which has been transported hither, from quarry 
and mine, from wood-yard and workshop, on the 
point of his pencil. 

He would be the first to acknowledge also, if 
he were speaking, the intelligent, faithful, inde- 
fatigable service rendered in execution of his 
plans by those who have been associated with 
him, as assistant engineers, as master mechanics, 
or as trained, trusted, and experienced workmen. 
On their knowledge and vigilance, their practiced 
skill and patient fidelity, the work has of neces- 
sity largely depended for its completed grace 
and strength. They have wrought the zealous 
labor of years into all parts of it ; and it will 
bear to them hereafter, as it does to-day, most 
honorable witness. 

Some of our honored fellow-citizens, who have 
borne a distinguished part in this enterprise, are 
no more here to share our festivities. Mr. John 
H. Prentice, for years the Treasurer of the Board, 
wise in counsel, of a liberal yet a watchful econ- 



87 

omy, of Incorruptible Integrity, passed from the 
earth two years ago ; but to those who knew 
him his memory Is as fresh as the verdure above 
his grave at Greenwood. More lately, one who 
had been from the outset associated with what 
to many appeared this visionary plan, to whose 
capacity and experience, his legal skill, his legis- 
lative influence, his social distinction, the w^ork 
has been always largely indebted, and who was 
for years the President of the Board, has followed 
into the silent land. It Is a grief to all who knew 
him that he Is not here to see the consumma- 
tion of labors and plans which for years had occu- 
pied his life. But his face and figure are before 
us, almost as distinctly as if he were present ; 
and It will be only the dullest forgetfulness which 
can ever cease to connect with this Bridge the 
name of the accomplished scholar, the experi- 
enced diplomatist, the untiring worker, the cordial 
and ever-helpful friend, Mr. Henry C. Murphy. 

But others remain to whom the work has 
brought its burdens, of labor, care, and long 
solicitude, sometimes, no doubt, of a public crit- 
icism whose imperious sharpness they may have 



88 

felt, but who have followed their plans to com- 
pletion, without wavering or pause ; who have, 
indeed, expanded those plans as the progress of 
the work has suggested enlargement ; and who, 
to-day, enter the reward which belongs to those 
who, after promoting a magnificent enterprise, 
see it accomplished. Among them are two who 
were associated with it at the beginning, and 
who have continued so associated from that 
day to this — Mr. William C. Kingsley, Mr. James 
S. T. Stranahan. The judgment cannot be mis- 
taken which affirms that to these men, more 
than to any other citizens remaining among us, 
the prosecution of this work to its crowning 
success is properly ascribed. They are the true 
orators of the hour. We may praise, but they 
have builded. On the tenacity of their purpose, 
of which that of these combining wires only pre- 
sents the physical image, — on the lift of their 
wills, stronger than of these consenting cables, — 
the immense structure has risen to its place. 
No grander work has it been given to men to 
do for the city, which will feel the unfailing 
impulse of their foresight and courage, their 



89 

wisdom in counsel, and their resolute service, 
to the end of its history ! 

Mr. William Marshall, Gen. Henry W. Slocum, 
were also connected with the work at the out- 
set, and, with intervals in the period of their 
service, have given it important assistance to 
the end ; while others are with us who have 
joined with intelligence, enthusiasm, and helpful- 
ness in the councils of the Board at different 
times. We rejoice in the presence of all those 
who, earlier or later, have taken part in the 
plans, at once vast and minute, which now are 
realized. We offer them the tribute of our 
admiring and grateful esteem. We trust that 
their remembrance of the work they have accom- 
plished, and their personal experience of its man- 
ifold benefits, may continue through many happy 
years. And we congratulate ourselves, as well 
as them, that the city will keep the memorial of 
them, not in yonder tablets alone, but in the 
great fabric above which those stand, while stone 
and steel retain their strenorth. 

But, after all, the real builder of this surpassing 
and significant structure has been the people : 



90 

whose watchfulness of its progress has been 
constant, whose desire for its benefits has been 
the incentive behind its plans, by whom its treas- 
ury has been supplied, whose exultant gladness 
now welcomes its success. The people of New 
York have illustrated anew their magnanimous 
spirit in cheerfully supplying their share of the 
cost, though not anticipating from such large 
outlay direct reliefs and signal advantages. The 
people of Brooklyn have shown at least an intel- 
ligent, intrepid, and far-sighted sagacity, in read- 
ily accepting the immediate burdens in expecta- 
tion of future returns. 

Such a popular achievement is one to be 
proud of. St. Petersburg could be commenced 
1 80 years ago — almost to a day, on May 27th, 
1 703 — and could afterward be built, by the will 
of an autocrat, to give him a new centre of 
empire, with a nearer outlook over Europe ; 
its palaces rising on artificial foundations, which 
it cost, it is said, 100,000 lives in the first year 
to lay. Paris could be reconstructed, twenty-five 
years ago, by the mandate of an emperor, deter- 
mined to make it more beautiful than before, to 



91 

open new avenues for guns and troops, to give 
to its laborers, who might become troublesome, 
desired occupation. But not only have these 
cities of ours been founded, built, reconstructed 
by the people, but this charming and mighty 
avenue in the air, by which they are henceforth 
rebuilt into one, is to the people's honor and 
praise. It shows what multitudes, democratically- 
organized, can do if they will. It will show, to 
those who shall succeed us, to what largeness of 
enterprise, what patience of purpose, what lib- 
eral wisdom, the populations now ruling these 
associated cities were competent in their time. 
It takes the aspect, as so regarded, of a durable 
monument to Democracy itself. 

We congratulate the Mayors of both the cities, 
with their associates in the government of them, 
on the public spirit manifested by both, on the 
ampler opportunities offered to each, and on 
those intimate alliances between them which are 
a source of happiness to both, and which are 
almost certainly prophetic of an organic union 
to be realized hereafter. And we trust that the 
crosses, encircled by the laurel wreath, on the 



92 

original seal of New Amsterdam, with the Dutch 
legend of this city, '' Union makes Strength," 
may continue to describe them, whether or not 
stamped upon parchments and blazoned on ban- 
ners, as long as human eyes shall see them. 

The work now completed is of interest to both 
cities, and its enduring and multiplying benefits 
will be found, we are confident, to be common, 
not local. 

We who have made and steadfastly kept our 
homes in Brooklyn, and who are fond and proud 
of the city — for its fresh, bracing, and healthful 
air, and the brilliant outstretch of sea and land 
which opens from its Heights ; for its scores of 
thousands of prosperous homes ; for its unsur- 
passed schools, its co-operating churches, the 
social temper which pervades it, the independ- 
ence and enterprise of its journals, and the local 
enthusiasms which they fruitfully foster ; for its 
general liberality, and the occasional splendid 
examples of individual munificence which have 
given it fame ; for its recent but energetic insti- 
tutions, of literature, art, and a noble philan- 
thropy ; and for the stimulating enterprise and 



93 

culture of the young life which is coming to com- 
mand in it — we have obvious reason to rejoice 
in the work which brings us into nearer connec- 
tion with all that is delightful and all that is 
enriching in the metropolis, and with that diverg- 
ing system of railways, overspreading the con- 
tinent, which has in the commercial capital its 
natural centre of radiation. 

We have no word of criticism to speak, only 
words of most hearty admiration, for the safe 
and speedy water-service on the lines of the 
ferries which has given us heretofore such easy 
transportation from city to city, without delays 
that were not unavoidable, and with remarkable 
exemption from disaster. So far as human care- 
fulness and skill could assure safety and speed, 
in the midst of conditions unfriendly to both, 
the management of these ferries has been peer- 
less, their success unsurpassed. To them is due, 
in largest measure, the rapid growth already 
here realized. They have formed the indispens- 
able arteries, of supply and transmission, through 
which the circulating life-blood has flowed, and 
their ministry to this city has been constant and 



94 

vital. But we confess ourselves glad to reach, 
with surer certainty and a greater rapidity, the 
libraries and galleries, the churches and the 
homes, as well as the resorts of business and 
of pleasure, with which we are now in instant 
connection ; and the horizon widens around us 
as we touch with more immediate contact the 
lines of travel which open hence to the edges 
of the continent. 

If we have not as much to offer in immedi- 
ate return, we have, at least, a broad expanse of 
uncovered acres within the city, for the easy 
occupation of those who wish homes, either mod- 
est or splendid, or who shall wish such as the 
growth of the metropolis multiplies its popula- 
tion into the millions, crowds its roofs higher 
toward the stars, and makes a productive silver 
mine of each several house-lot. And to those 
who visit us but at intervals we can open not 
only yonder park, set like an emerald in the 
great circular sweep of our boundaries from the 
waters of the Narrows to the waters of the 
Sound, but also their readiest approach to the 
ocean. The capital and the sea are henceforth 



95 

brought to nearer neighborhood. Long Island 
bays, and brooks, and beaches, are within readier 
reach of the town. The winds that have touch- 
ed no other land this side of Cuba are more 
accessible to those who seek their tonic breath. 
The lone roll of the surf on the shore breaks 
closer than before to office and mansion, and to 
tenement chamber. 

The benefits will, therefore, be reciprocal, 
which pass back and forth across this solid and 
stately frame-work ; and both cities will rejoice, 
we gladly hope, in the patience and labor, the 
disciplined skill, the large expenditure, of which 
it is the trophy and fruit. New York has now 
the unique opportunity to widen its boundaries 
to the sea, and around its brilliant civic shield, 
more stately and manifold than that of Achilles, 
by the aid of those who have wrought already 
these twisted bracelets and clasping cables, to 
set the glowing margin of the Ocean-stream. 

This work is important, too, we cannot but 
feel, in wider relations ; for what it signifies, as 
for what it secures, and for all that It promises. 
Itself a representative product and part of the 



96 

new civilization, one standing- on it finds an out- 
look from it of larger circumference than that 
of these cities. 

Every enterprise like this, successfully accom- 
plished, becomes an incentive to others like it. It 
leads on to such, and supplies incessant encour- 
agement to them. We may not know, or proba- 
bly conjecture, what these are to be, in the city 
or the State, in the years that shall come. But, 
whatever they may be, for the more complete 
equipment of either with conditions of happi- 
ness and the instruments of progress, they will 
all take an impulse from that which here has 
been accomplished. Such a trophy of triumph 
over an original obstacle of Nature will not 
contribute to sleep in others ; and whatever is 
needed of material improvement, throughout the 
State of which it is our pride to be citizens, will 
be only more surely and speedily supplied because 
of this impressive success. 

It is, therefore, most fitting to our festival that 
we are permitted to welcome to it the Chief 
Magistrate of the State, with those representing 
its different regions in the legislative councils. 



97 

We rejoice to remember that the work before 
us has been assisted by the favoring action of 
those heretofore in authority in the State ; and 
we trust that to those now holding high offices 
in it, who are present to-day, the occasion will 
be one of pleasant experience, and of enlarged 
and reinforced expectation. 

Indeed, it is not extravagant to say that the 
future of the country opens before us, as we see 
what skill and will can do to overleap obstacles, 
and make nature subservient to human designs. 
So we gladly welcome these eminent men from 
other States ; while the presence of the Execu- 
tive Head of the- Nation, and of some of the 
members of his Cabinet, is appropriate to the 
time, as it is an occasion of sincere and pro- 
found gratification to us all. Without the con- 
currence of . the National Government, this 
structure, though primarily of local relations, 
as reaching across these navigable waters, could 
not have been built. We feel assured that 
those honorably representing that Government, 
who favor its completion with their attendance, 
and in whose presence political differences arc 



98 

forgotten, will share with us In the joyful pride 
with which we regard it, and in the inspiring 
anticipation that the physical apparatus of civili- 
zation in the land is to take fresh impulse, not 
impediment or hindrance, from that which here 
has been effected. The day seems brought dis- 
tinctly nearer when the Nation, equipped with 
the latest implements furnished by science, shall 
master and use as never before its rich domain. 

Not only the modern spirit is here, even in 
eminence, which dares great effort for great 
advantage ; but the chiefest of modern instru- 
ments is here, which is the ancient untractable 
iron, transfigured into steel. 

It was a sign, and even a measure, of ancient 
degeneracy, when the age of Gold was followed 
if not forgotten by one of Iron. Decadence of 
arts, of learning and laws, of society itself, was 
implied in the fact. The more intrepid intelli- 
gence, the more versatile energy, amid which we 
live, have achieved the success of combining the 
two : so that while it is true now, as of old, 
that '' no mattock plunges a golden edge into 
the ground, and no nail drives a silver point 



99 

into the plank," It is also true that, under the 
stimulus of the larger expenditure which the 
added supplies of gold make possible, the duller 
metal has taken a fineness, a brightness and 
hardness, with a tensile strength, before unfa- 
miliar. 

The iron, as of old, quarries the gold, and 
cuts it out from river-bed and from rock. But, 
under the alchemy which gold applies, the iron 
takes nobler properties upon it. Converted into 
steel, in masses that would lately have staggered 
men's thoughts, it becomes the kingliest instru- 
ment of peoples for subduing the earth. Things 
dainty and things mighty are fashioned from it 
in equal abundance : — gun-carriage and cannon, 
with the solid platforms on which they rest ; 
the largest castings, and heaviest plates, as well 
as wheel, axle, and rail, as well as screw or file 
or saw. It is shaped into the hulls of ships. 
It is built alike into column and truss, balcony, 
roof, and springing dome. To the loom and 
the press, and the boiler from whose fierce and 
untiring heart their force is supplied, it is equal- 
ly apt ; while, as drawn into delicate wires, it is 



lOO 

coiled Into springs, woven Into gauze, sharpened 
Into needles, twisted Into ropes ; it is made to 
yield music in all our homes ; electric currents 
are sent upon it, along our streets, around the 
world ; it enables us to talk with correspondents 
afar, or it is knit, as before our eyes, into the 
new and noble causeways of pleasure and of 
commerce. 

I hardly think that we yet appreciate the sig- 
nificance of this change which has passed upon 
Iron. It is the Industrial victory of the century, 
not to have heaped the extracted gold In higher 
piles, or to have crowded the bursting vaults 
with accumulated silver, but to have conferred, 
by the sovereign touch of scientific Invention, 
flexibility, grace, variety of use, an almost ethe- 
real and spiritual virtue, on the stubbornest of 
common metals. The indications of physical 
achievement in the future, thus inaugurated, 
outrun the compass of human thought. 

Two bridges lie near each other, across the his- 
torical stream of the Moldau, under the shadow 
of the ancient and haughty palace at Prague — 
the one the picturesque bridge of St. Nepomuk, 



lOI 



patron of bridges throughout Bohemia, of mas- 
sive stone, which occupied a century and a half 
in its erection, and was finished almost four cen- 
turies ago, with stately statues along its sides, 
with a superb monument at its end, sustaining 
symbolic and portrait figures ; the other an iron 
suspension-bridge, built and finished in three 
years, a half century since, and singularly con- 
trasting, in its lightness and grace, the sombre 
solidity of the first. It is impossible to look 
upon the two without feeling how distinctly the 
different ages to which they belong are indicated 
by them, and how the ceremonial and military 
character of the centuries that are past has been 
superseded by the rapid and practical spirit of 
commerce. 

But the modern bridge is there a small one, 
and rests at the centre on an island and a pier. 
The structure before us, the largest of its class 
as yet in the world, in its swifter, more grace- 
ful, and more daring leap from bank to bank, 
across the tides of this arm of the sea, not only 
illustrates the bolder temper which is natural 
here, the readiness to attempt unparalleled works. 



I02 

the disdain of difficulties In unfaltering reliance 
on exact calculation, but, In the material out of 
which It Is wrought. It shows the new suprem- 
acy of man over the metal which. In former 
time, he scarcely could use save for rude and 
coarse implements. The steel of the blades of 
Damascus or Toledo is not here needed ; nor 
that of the chisel, the knife-blade, the watch- 
spring, or the surgical Instrument. But the steel 
of the mediaeval lance-head or sabre was hardly 
finer than that which Is here built Into a Castle, 
which the sea cannot shake, whose binding ce- 
ment the rains cannot loosen, and before whose 
undecaying parapets open fairer visions of island 
and town, of earth, water, and sky, than from 
any fortress along the Rhine. There is inex- 
haustible promise In the fact. 

Of course, too, there is Impressively before us — 
Installed as on this fair and brilliant civic throne 
— that desire for swiftest Intercommunication be- 
tween towns and districts divided from each 
other, which belongs to our times, and which is 
to be an energetic, enduring, and salutary force 
in moulding the nation. 



I03 



The years are not distant in which separated 
communities regarded each other with aversion 
and distrust, and the effort was mutual to raise 
barriers between them, not to unite them in 
closer alliance. Now, the traffic of one is vitally 
dependent on the industries of the other ; the 
counting-room in the one has the factory or 
the warehouse tributary to it established in the 
other ; and the demand is imperative that the 
two be linked, by all possible mechanisms, in a 
union as complete as if no chasm had opened 
between them. So these cities are henceforth 
united ; and so all cities, which may minister to 
each other, are bound more and more in inti- 
mate combinations. Santa Fe, which soon cele- 
brates the third of a millenium since its founda- 
tion, reaches out its connections toward the 
newest log-city in Washington Territory ; and 
the oldest towns upon our seaboard find allies 
in those that have risen, like exhalations, along 
the Western lakes and rivers. 

This mighty and symmetrical band before us 
seems to stand as the type of all that immeas- 
urable communicating system which is more 



I04 

completely with every year to interlink cities, to 
confederate States, to make one country of our 
distributed imperial domain, and to weave its 
history into a vast, harmonious contexture, as 
messages fly instantaneously across it, and the 
rapid trains rush back and forth, like shuttles 
upon a mighty loom. 

It is not fanciful, either, to feel that in all its 
history, and in what is peculiar in its constitu- 
tion, it becomes a noble, visible symbol of that 
benign Peace amid which its towers and roadway 
have risen, and which, we trust, it may long 
continue to signalize and to share. 

We may look at this moment on the site of 
the ship-yard from which, in March, 1862, twenty- 
one years ago, went forth the unmasted and 
raft-like '' Monitor," with its flat decks, its low 
bulwarks, its guarded mechanism, its heavy arm- 
ament, and its impenetrable revolving turret, to 
that near battle with the '' Merrimac," on which, 
as it seemed to us at the time, the destiny of 
the nation was perilously poised. The material 
of which the ship was wrought was largely that 
which is built in beauty into this luxurious lofty 



I05 

fabric. But no contrast could be greater among 
the works of human genius than between the 
compact and rigid soHdity into which the iron 
had there been forged and wedged and rammed, 
and these waving and graceful curves, swinging 
downward and up, almost like blossoming fes- 
tooned vines along the perfumed Italian lanes ; 
this alluring roadway, resting on towers which 
rise like those of ancient cathedrals ; this lace- 
work of threads, interweaving their separate deli- 
cate strengths into the complex solidity of the 
whole. 

The ship w^s for war, and the Bridge is for 
peace : — the product of it ; almost, one might say, 
its express palpable emblem, in its harmony of 
proportions, its dainty elegance, its advantages for 
all, and its ample convenience. The deadly raft, 
floating level with waves, was related to this ethe- 
real structure, whose finest curves are wrought in 
the strength of toughest steel. We could not 
have had this except for that unsightly craft, 
which at first refused to be steered, which 
bumped headlong against our piers, which almost 
sank while being towed to the field of its fame. 



io6 

and which, at last, when its mission was fulfilled, 
found its grave in the deep over whose waters, 
and near their line, its shattering lightnings had 
been shot. This structure will stand, we fondly 
trust, for generations to come, even for centu- 
ries, while metal and granite retain their coher- 
ence ; not only emitting, when the wind surges 
or plays through its network, that aerial music 
of which it is the mighty harp, but representing 
to every eye the manifold bonds of interest and 
affection, of sympathy and purpose, of common 
political faith and hope, over and from whose 
mightier chords shall rise the living and un- 
matched harmonies of continental gladness and 
praise. 

While no man, therefore, can measure in 
thought the vast processions — 40,000,000 a year, 
it already is computed — which shall pass back 
and forth across this pathway, or shall pause on 
its summit to survey the vast and bright pano- 
rama, to greet the break of summer-morning, or 
watch the pageant of closing day, we may hope 
that the one use to which it never will need to 
be put is that of war ; that the one tramp not 



I07 

to be heard on it Is that of soldiers marching 
to battle ; that the only wheels whose roll It 
shall not be called to echo are the wheels of the 
tumbrils of troops and artillery. Born of peace, 
and signifying peace, may Its mission of peace 
be uninterrupted, till Its strong towers and cables 
fall ! 

If such expectations shall be fulfilled, of me- 
chanical Invention ever advancing, of cities and 
States linked more closely, of beneficent peace 
assured to all, It Is Impossible to assign any 
limit to the coming expansion and opulence of 
these cities, or to the influence which they shall 
exert on the developing life of the country. 

Cities have often. In other times, been created 
by war ; as men were crowded together in them 
the better to escape the whirls of strife by 
which the unwalled districts were ravaged, or 
the more effectively to combine their force 
against threatening foes. And It Is a striking 
suggestion of history that to the frightful rava- 
ges of the Huns — swarthy, ill-shaped, ferocious, 
destroying — may have been due the Great Wall 
of China, for the protection of Its remote towns, 



io8 

as to them, on the other hand, was certainly due 
the foundation of Venice. The first inhabitants 
of what has been since that queenly city — along 
whose liquid and level streets the traveler pass- 
es, between palaces, churches, and fascinating 
squares, in constant delight — its first Inhabitants 
fled before Attlla, to the flooded lagoons which 
were afterward to blossom Into the beauty of a 
consummate art. The fearful crash of blood 
and fire in which Aqulleia and Padua fell smote 
Venice into existence. 

But even the city thus born of war must 
afterward be built up by peace, when the strifes 
which had pushed it to Its sudden beginning 
had died into the distant silence. The fishing 
industry, the manufacture of salt, the timid com- 
merce, gradually expanding till It left the riv- 
ers and sought the sea, these, with other relat- 
ed industries, had made Venetian galleys known 
on the eastern Mediterranean before the Im- 
mense rush of the crusades crowded tumultuous- 
ly over Its quays and many bridges. Its variety 
of Industry, and its commercial connections, 
turned that vast movement Into another source 



I09 

of wealth. It rose rapidly to that naval supre- 
macy which enabled it to capture piratical ves- 
sels and wealthy galleons, to seize or sack Ionian 
cities, to storm Byzantium, and make the south 
of Greece its suburb. Its manufactures were 
multiplied. Its dockyards were thronged with 
busy workmen. Its palaces were crowded with 
precious and famous works of art, while them- 
selves marvels of beauty. St. Mark's unfolded 
its magnificent loveliness above the great square. 
In the palace adjoining was the seat of a domin- 
ion at the time unsurpassed, and still brilliant in 
history ; and it was in no fanciful or exagger- 
ated pride that the Doge was wont yearly, on 
Ascension Day, to wed the Adriatic with a ring, 
as the bridegroom weds the bride. 

Dreamlike as it seems, equally with Amster- 
dam, the larger and richer '' Venice of the 
North," it was erected by hardy hands. The 
various works and arts of peace, with a pros- 
perous commerce, were the real piles, sunken 
beneath the flashing surface, on which church 
and palace, piazza and arsenal, all arose. It was 
only when these unseen supports secretly failed 



I lO 

that advancement ceased, and the horses of St. 
Mark at last were bridled. Not all the wars, 
with Genoa, Hungary, with Western Europe, the 
Greek Empire, or the Ottoman — not earthquake, 
plague, or conflagration, though by all it was 
smitten — overwhelmed the city whose place in 
Europe had been so distinguished. The deca- 
dence of enterprise, the growing discredit put 
upon industry, the final discovery by Vasco da 
Gama of the passage around the Cape of Good 
Hope, diverting traffic into new channels — these 
laid their silent and tightening grasp on the 
power of Venice, till 

*' the salt sea-weed 
Clung to the marble of her palaces," 

and the glory of the past was merged in a 
gloom which later centuries have not lightened. 
There is a lesson and a promise in the fact. 

New York itself may almost be said to have 
sprung from war ; as the vast excitements of 
the forty years' wrestle between Spain and its 
revolted provinces gave incentive, at least, to the 
settlement of New Netherland. But the city, 
since its real development was begun, has been 



1 1 1 

almost wholly built up by peace; and the swift- 
ness of its progress in our own time, which 
challenges parallel, shows what, if the ministry of 
this peace shall continue, may be looked for in 
the future. 

When the Dutch traders raised their store- 
house of logs on yonder untamed and desolate 
strand, perhaps as early as 1615 ; w^hen the Wal- 
loons established their settlement on this side 
of the river, in 1624, at that ''Walloons' Bay" 
which we still call the Wallabout ; or when, later, 
in 1626, Manhattan Island, estimated to contain 
22,000 acres, was purchased from the Indians 
for $24, paid in beads, buttons and trinkets, and 
the Block House was built, with cedar palisades, 
on the site of the Battery, it is, of course, com- 
monplace to say that they who had come hither 
could scarcely have had the least conception of 
what a career they thus were commencing for 
two great cities. But it is not so wholly com- 
monplace to say that those who saw this now 
wealthy and splendid New York a hundred years 
since, less conspicuous than Boston, far smaller 
than Philadelphia, with its first bank established 



I 12 



in 1 784, and not fully chartered till seven years 
later; with its first daily paper in 1785 ; its first 
ship in the Eastern trade returning in May of 
the same year ; its first Directory published in 
1786, and containing only 900 names ; its Broad- 
way extending only to St. Paul's ; with the 
grounds about Reade street grazing-fields for cat- 
tle, and with ducks still shot in that Beekman's 
Swamp which the trafiic in leather has since 
made famous : or those who saw it even fifty 
years ago, when its population was little more 
than one-third of the present population of this 
younger city ; when its first Mayor had not been 
chosen by popular election ; when gas had but 
lately been introduced, and the superseding of 
the primitive pumps by Croton water had not 
yet been projected — they, all, could hardly have 
imagined what already the city should have 
become : the recoo^nized centre of the commerce 
of the Continent ; one of the principal cities of 
the world. 

So those who have lived in this city from 
childhood, and who hardly yet claim the digni- 
ties of age, could scarcely have conjectured, 



113 



when looking on what Mr. Murphy recalled as 
the village of his youth, '' a hamlet of a hundred 
houses," that it should have become, In our 
time, a city of nearly 70,006 dwelling houses, 
occupied by twice as many families ; with a pop- 
ulation, by the census rates, of little less than 
700,000; with more than 150,000 children in Its 
public and private schools ; with 330 miles of 
paved streets, as many as last year In New 
York, and with more than 200 additional miles 
Impatiently waiting to be paved; with 130 miles 
of street railway track, over which last year 
88,000,000 of passengers were carried ; with near- 
ly 2,500 miles of telegraph and telephone wire 
knitting it together ; with 35,000,000 of gallons 
of water, the best on the continent, to which 
20,000,000 more are soon to be added, daily dis- 
tributed In Its houses, through 360 miles of pipe ; 
with an aggregate value of real property exceed- 
ing certainly $400,000,000; with an annual tax 
levy of $6,500,000; with manufactures in It whose 
reported product in 1880 was $103,000,000; with 
a water-front, of pier, dock, basin, canal, already 
exceeding 25 miles, and not as yet half developed, 



114 

at which Hes shipping from all the world, more 
largely than at the piers of New York ; and, 
finally, with what to most modern communities 
appears to flash as a costly but brilliant diamond 
necklace, a public debt, beginning now to dimin- 
ish, it is true, but still approaching, in net 
amount, $37,500,000! 

The child watches, in happy wonder, the swell- 
ing film of soapy water into whose iridescent 
globe he has blown the speck from the bowl 
of the pipe. But this amazing development 
around us is not of airy and vanishing films. 
It is solidly constructed, in marble and brick, 
in stone and iron, while the proportions to which 
it has swelled surpass precedent, and rebuke the 
timidity of the boldest prediction. But that 
which has built it has been simply the industry, 
manifold, constant, going on in these cities, to 
which peace offers incentive and room. 

Their future advancement is to come in like 
manner : not through a prestige derived from 
their history ; not by the gradual increments of 
their wealth, already collected ; not by the riches 
which they invite to themselves from other cities 



115 

and distant coasts ; not even from their beauti- 
ful fortune of location ; but by prosperous man- 
ufactures prosecuted in them ; by the traffic 
which radiates over the country ; by the foreign 
commerce which, in values increasing every year, 
seeks this harbor. Each railway whose rapid 
wheels roll hither, from East or West, from 
North or South, from the rocks of Newfoundland 
or the copper-deposits of Lake Superior, from 
the orange groves of Florida, the Louisiana 
bayous, the silver ridges of the West, the Gold- 
en Gate, gives its guaranty of growth to the 
still young metropolis. On the cotton fields of 
the South, and its sugar plantations ; on coal 
mines, and iron mines; on the lakes which winter 
roofs with ice, and from which drips refresh- 
ing coolness through our summer ; on fisheries, 
factories, wheat fields, pine forests ; on meadows 
wealthy with grains or grass, and orchards bend- 
ing beneath their burdens, this enlarging pros- 
perity must be maintained ; and on the steam- 
ships, and the telegraph lines, which interweave 
us with all the world. The swart miner must 
do his part for it ; the ingenious workman, in 



ii6 

whatever department ; the ploughman In the field, 
and the fisherman on the banks ; the man of 
science, putting Nature to the question ; the 
laborer, with no other capital than his muscle ; 
the sailor on the sea, wherever commerce opens 
its wings. 

Our Arch of Triumph is, therefore, fitly this 
Bridge of Peace. Our Brandenburg Gate, bear- 
ing on Its summit no car of military victory, is 
this great work of industrial skill. It stands, 
not, like the Arch famous at Milan, outside the 
city, but in the midst of these united and busy 
populations. And if the tranquil public order 
which It celebrates and prefigures shall continue 
as years proceed, not London Itself, a century 
hence, will surpass the compass of this united 
city by the sea, in which all civilized nations of 
mankind have already their many representa- 
tives, and to which the world shall pay an in- 
creasing annual tribute. 

And so the last suggestion comes, which the 
hour presents, and of which the time allows the 
expression. 

It was not to an American mind alone that 



117 

we owed the *' Monitor," of which I have spok- 
en, but also to one trained in Swedish schools, 
the Swedish army, and representing that brave 
nationality. It is not to a native American mind 
that the scheme of construction carried out in this 
Bridge is to be ascribed, but to one represent- 
ing the German peoples, who, in such enriching 
and fruitful multitudes, have found here their 
home. American enterprise, American money, 
built them both. But the skill which devised, 
and much, no doubt, of the labor which wrought 
them, came from afar. 

Local and particular as Is the work, therefore, 
it represents that fellowship of the Nations which 
Is more and more prominently a fact of our 
times, and which gives to these cities inces- 
sant augmentation. When, by and by, on yonder 
island the majestic French statue of Liberty shall 
stand, holding In Its hand the radiant crown of 
electric flames, and answering by them to those 
as brilliant along this causeway, our beautiful 
bay will have taken what specially Illuminates 
and adorns it from Central and from Western 
Europe. The distant lands from which oceans 



ii8 

divide us, thoug-h we touch them each moment 
with the fingers of the telegraph, will have set 
this conspicuous double crown on the head of 
our harbor. The alliances of nations, the peace 
of the world, will seem to find illustrious predic- 
tion in such superb and novel regalia. 

Friends, and Fellow-Citizens : Let us not for- 
get that, in the growth of these cities, henceforth 
united, and destined ere long to be formally one, 
lies either a threat, or one of the conspicuous 
promises of the time. 

Cities have always been powers rn history. 
Athens educated Greece, as well as adorned it, 
while Corinth filled the throbbing and thirsty 
Hellenic veins with poisoned blood. The weight 
of Constantinople broke the Roman Empire 
asunder. The capture of the same magnificent 
city gave to the Turks their establishment in 
Europe for the following centuries. Even where 
they have not had such a commanding pre-emi- 
nence of location, the social, political, moral 
force proceeding from cities has been vigorous 
in impression, immense in extent. The passion 
of Paris, for a hundred years, has created or 



119 

directed the sentiment of France. Berlin is 
more than the legislative or administrative cen- 
tre of the German Empire. Even a govern- 
ment as autocratic as that of the Czar, in a 
country as undeveloped as Russia, has to con- 
sult the popular feeling of St. Petersburg or of 
Moscow. 

In our nation, political power is widely distrib- 
uted, and the largest or wealthiest commercial 
centre can have but its share. Great as is the 
weight of the aggregate vote in these henceforth 
compacted cities, the vote of the State will always 
overbear' it. Amid the suffrages of the nation 
at large, it can only be reckoned as one of many 
consenting or conflicting factors. But the influ- 
ence which constantly proceeds from these cities 
— on their journalism, not only, or on the issues 
of their book-presses, or on the multitudes going 
forth from them, but on the example presented 
by them of intellectual, social, religious life — this, 
for shadow and check, or for fine inspiration, is 
already of unlimited extent, of incalculable force. 
It must increase as they expand, and are lifted 
before the country to a new elevation. 



I 20 



A larger and a smaller sun are sometimes asso- 
ciated, astronomers tell us, to form a binary 
centre in the heavens, for what is, doubtless, an 
unseen system receiving from them impulse and 
light. On a scale not utterly insignificant, a 
parallel may be hereafter suggested in the rela- 
tion of these combined cities to a part, at least, 
of our national system. Their attitude and action 
during the war — successfully closed under the 
gallant military leadership of men whom we 
gladly welcome and honor — were of vast advan- 
tage to the national cause. The moral, political, 
intellectual temper, which dominates in them, as 
years go on, will touch with beauty, or scar with 
scorching and baleful heats, extended regions. 
Their religious life, as it glows in intensity, or 
with a faint and failing lustre, will be repeated 
in answering image from the widening frontier. 
The beneficence which gives them grace and 
consecration, and which, as lately, they follow to 
the grave with universal benediction, or, on the 
other hand, the selfish ambitions which crowd 
and crush along their streets, intent only on 
accumulated wealth and its sumptuous display, 



1 2 I 



or the glittering vices which they accept and set 
on high — these will make their impression on 
those who never cross the continent to our 
homes, to whom our journals are but names. 

Surely, we should not go from this hour, 
which marks a new era in the history of these 
cities, and which points to their future indefinite 
expansion, without the purpose in each of us, 
that, so far forth as in us lies, with their increase 
in numbers, wealth, equipment, shall also proceed, 
with equal step, their progress in whatever is 
noblest and best in private and in public life ; 
that all which sets humanity forward shall come 
in them to ampler endowment, more renowned 
exhibition : so that, linked together, as hereafter 
they must be, and seeing ''the purple deepening 
in their robes of power," they may be always 
increasingly conscious of fulfilled obligation to 
the Nation and to God ; may make the land, at 
whose magnificent gateway they stand, their con- 
stant debtor ; and may contribute their mighty 
part toward that ultimate perfect Human Society 
for which the seer could find no image so meet 
or so majestic as that of a City, coming down 



122 



from above, its stones laid with fair colors, 
its foundations with sapphires, its windows of 
agates, its gates of carbuncles, and all its bor- 
ders of pleasant stones, with the sovereign prom- 
ise resplendent above it, — 

'' And great shall be the Peace of thy children ! " 



BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY 




3 1197 21993 7791 



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